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book on 

Jan Vermeer 

of Delft, 

his life 

and art , based 

on the author's 

original work 

With 8 1 
in colour and 
all of his 




Completed and Prepared for the Press by 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

l\ few years ago Mr. Andrew 
W. Mellon is said to have paid 
$290,000 for one of Vermeer's 
paintings. Yet at a time not many- 
decades back his work was so little 
esteemed that occasionally names 
of other painters were substituted 
for Vermeer's in order to effect 
the sale of one of his pictures at a 
high price. Although in his forty- 
three years Vermeer had won 
prestige in his own seventeenth 
century Holland, his name for 
some reason was almost forgotten 
less than fifty years after his death, 
and his work did not again acquire 
significance in the eyes of the art 
world until the latter half of the 
nineteenth century. Even as re- 
cently as twenty-five years ago 
he was distinctly a "painter's 
painter," known to the average art 
lover, if at all, as a minor Dutch 
artist. Today, however, his work 
receives universal recognition. His 
pictures are esteemed more highly 
than those of many of the other 
masters. The value of the forty- 
one pictures definitely attributed 
to him is estimated at $25,000,000. 
From Vermeer, the unknown, he 
has come to be considered by Ver- 
meer enthusiasts as the greatest 
painter of all time. 

(Continued on back flap) 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Metropolitan New York Library Council - METRO 

V E R M E E R 


Completed and prepared for the press by 



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"Part I 
The Man and His Times 












Fan II 
His Works 



The Known Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft and 
of Certain Other Paintings Sometimes Attributed to 


INDEX 239 

List of Illustrations 

Philip L. Hale, 1865-193 1 Facing Page xviii 

From a Photograph by Donald B. Barton 

plate A. Reproductions in dolour 


i A Young Woman Opening a Casement. Also called A 
Young Woman with a Water Jug. Jan Vermeer of 
Delft ........ Frontispiece 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 107 facing 


2 The Music Lesson. Also called A Lady and a Gentleman at 

a Spinet. Jan Vermeer of Delft ..... 8 

Royal Collection, Great Britain {Generally known as the 
Windsor Castle Vermeer) 

Descriptive text on Page 152 

3 View of Delft. Jan Vermeer of Delft . . . .20 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 
Descriptive text on Page 168 

4 Head of a Young Girl. Jan Vertneer of Delft . . .28 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 
Descriptive text on Page 173 

5 The Reader. Sometimes called A Girl Reading a Letter. 

Jan Vermeer of Delft . . . . . . -38 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Descriptive text on Page 174 

6 A Maid-Servant Pouring Milk. Also called The Milk- 

woman, Girl with Bread, The Cook. Jan Vermeer of 
Delft 50 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Descriptive text on Page 175 

7 The Love Letter. Jan Vermeer of Delft .... 68 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Descriptive text on Page 177 

vi List of Illustrations 



8 The Little Street in Delft. Jan Vermeer of Delft . . j6 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Descriptive text on Page 179 

9 The Pearl Necklace. Jan Vermeer of Delft ... 84 

Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin 

Descriptive text on Page 187 

10 A Girl Reading a Letter. Jan Vermeer of Delft . . . 92 
State Picture Gallery, Dresden 

Descriptive text on Page 195 


B. Drawings in \Jne, etc. 

Map of Delft, 1667 15 

The Guild of St. Luke, Delft . . . . -17 

Seal of the City of Delft . . . . . .21 

Decorated Blue and White Plate, Depicting the Great 
Delft Explosion of 1654 ...... 59 

Decorated Blue and White Plate, Depicting the Hague 
Gate at Delft . . . . . . . .61 

Signatures to some of Vermeer's Paintings . . .106 

Facsimile of Double-page from the Masterbook of the 
Guild of St. Luke, Delft . . . . . .230 

C. Reproductions in Monochrome 
plate In a Section following Page 94 


1 1 A Girl Asleep. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
Descriptive text on Page 1 1 1 

1 2 A Lady with a Lute. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
Descriptive text on Page 1 1 3 

List of Illustrations vii 



1 3 Allegory of the New Testament. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
Descriptive text on Page, 115 

14 Lady Writing. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Morgan Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 118 

1 5 Girl Interrupted at Her Music. Sometimes called The Singing 

Lesson, The Music Lesson, A Gentleman and a Young Lady. 
Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Frick Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 1 19 

16 The Soldier and the Laughing Girl. Sometimes called Officer 

and Laughing Girl. Jan Vermeer of Delft 
Frick Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 121 

1 7 The Map Shown on the Wall in The Soldier and the Laughing 


From the original engraving in the possession of Ralph T. Hale, 
Winchester, Massachusetts 

Descriptive text on Page 123 

1 8 A Lady and a Maid-Servant. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Frick Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 123 

19 The Geographer. Also called The Astronomer. Jan Vermeer of 


Collection of E. John Magnin, New York 
Descriptive text on Page 125 

20 A Young Woman Reading. Attributed by some critics to Jan 

Vermeer of Delft 

Bache Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 1 30 

21 Head of a Young Boy. Attributed by some critics to Jan Ver- 

meer of Delft 

Bache Collection, New York 

Descriptive text on Page 131 

22 The Girl with the Red Hat. Also called The Girl with the 

Red Feather. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 

Descriptive text on Page 132 

viii List of Illustrations 



23 The Smiling Girl. Also known as Head of a Young Girl. Jan 

Vermeer of Delft 

Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 

Descriptive text on Page 134 

24 The Lace Maker. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 

Descriptive text on Page 135 

25 The Concert. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston 
Descriptive text on Page 136 

26 Portrait of a Lady. Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer 

of Delft 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Edwards, Cincinnati 
Descriptive text on Page 1 39 

27 A Woman Weighing Gold. Sometimes called A Woman Weigh- 

ing Pearls. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Widener Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia 
Descriptive text on Page 140 

28 A Young Girl with a Flute. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Widener Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia 
Descriptive text on Page 143 

29 A Lady Playing the Guitar. Also called Girl with Mandolin. 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 
The John G. Johnson Art Collection, Philadelphia 
Descriptive text on Page 144 

30 The Guitar Player. Also known as The Lute Player. Jan Ver- 

meer of Delft 

Iveagh Bequest, Ken Wood, Highgate, London 
Descriptive text on Page 147 

3 1 A Young Lady at the Virginals. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery, London 

Descriptive text on Page 154 

32 A Young Lady Seated at the Spinet. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery, London 

Descriptive text on page 1 56 

List of Illustrations ix 


33 A Love Letter. Also called Young Lady Writing. Jan Vermeer 

of Delft 

Beit Collection, London 

Descriptive text on Page 158 

34 Young Girl at a Spinet. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Beit Collection, London 

Descriptive text on Page 159 

35 Head of a Young Man (possibly a portrait of Simon Decker). At- 

tributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 
Collection of Ernest W. Savory, Bristol, England 
Descriptive text on Page 160 

36 Old Engraving from the Preceding Portrait 

Descriptive text on Page 160 

37 A Young Girl. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Formerly in the Collection of Charles E. Carruthers, Batheaston, 
Somerset, England; in the possession of Anthony F. Reyre, London 
Descriptive text on Page 162 

38 Christ in the House of Mary and Martha. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 
Descriptive text on Page 163 

39 The Death of St. Joseph. Bernardo Cavallino (1622-1654) 

Museum of Naples 

Descriptive text on Page 164 

40 The Toilette of Diana. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 
Descriptive text on Page 171 

41 Portrait of a Girl. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Axenberg Collection, Brussels 

Descriptive text on Page 182 

42 Portrait of a Young Man. Attributed by some critics to Jan 

Vermeer of Delft; noiv generally attributed to Nicolaes Maes 
Royal Museum of Art, Brussels 

Descriptive text on Page 183 

43 Boy with Pomegranates. Pieter de Hooch 

Wallace Collection, London 

Descriptive text on Page 184 

x List of Illustrations 



44 The Lace Maker. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

The Louvre, Paris 

Descriptive text on Page 184 

45 The Astronomer. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Rothschild Collection, Paris 

Descriptive text on Page 186 

46 A Girl Drinking with a Gentleman. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin 

Descriptive text on Page 189 

47 The Coquette. Also called The Girl with the Wine Glass. Jan 

Vermeer of Delft 

Brunswick Gallery 

Descriptive text on Page 190 

48 The Courtesan. Also called The Procuress; sometimes known as 

Scene in a Tavern, and A Young Woman in a Yellow Jacket. 
Jan Vermeer of Delft 

State Picture Gallery, Dresden 

Descriptive text on Page 193 

49 The Astronomer. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Stadel Art Institute, Frankfort 

Descriptive text on Page 197 

50 A Painter's Studio. Sometimes called Portrait of the Artist. Jan 

Vermeer of Delft 

Collection of Count Czernin, Vienna 

Descriptive text on Page 200 

5 1 Portrait of a Woman. Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Museum of Fine Arts, Buda-Pesth 

Descriptive text on Page 204 

52 The Goldfinch. Car el Fabritius 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 
Special reference on Page 60 

53 A Family Group. Probably by Leendert van der Cooghen; by 

some critics attributed to Michael Siveerts 
This picture was formerly cut in two. The left half was pre- 
sented to the National Gallery, under the title of The Lesson, 
by Vermeer, by G Fairfax Murray in 1900; the right half was 

List of Illustrations xi 


purchased from M. Flersheim, Paris, as A Family Group in iqio. 
The two parts were joined together in 191 5. 
National Gallery, London 

Descriptive text on Page 219 

54 A List of Pictures Sold at Amsterdam, May 16, 1696 

At this sale twenty-one paintings by Vermeer were sold. The 
Vermeer items are Nos. 1 to 1 2 inclusive and 31 to 40 inclusive; 
for some reason, possibly the typesetter's error, no No. 34 is 
given. The list was published in Volume I, pp. 34-40, of Gerard 
Hoet's " Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen," two volumes, 
The Hague, 1752. Pages 34, 35, 36 and 37 of Volume I. 
From the Copy in the Library of Congress, Washington 

55 Pages 38, 39 and 40 of Volume I of Gerard Hoet's " Catalogus of 

Naamlyst van Schilderyen," completing the list of the pictures 
sold at Amsterdam May 1 6, 1 696. 

Descriptive text of the above pages on Pages 07-102 

56, 57, 58 Three groups of pictures of Delft in 1936, from photo- 
graphs by Ralph T. Hale 

Jl TS{pte by the "Publishers 

When Philip L. Hale wrote 
his "Jan Vermeer of Delft" in 191 3, the Dutch master was dis- 
tinctly a " painter's painter." As the years went by, however, he 
came to be known to a larger and larger portion of the general pub- 
lic, until now the announcement that a picture by Vermeer has been 
discovered, to add to the small number, even yet less than fifty, of 
those accepted as authentically by this painter, is news of interna- 
tional interest beyond the limits of the specialized " art world." To 
this widespread realization of Vermeer's importance it is not too 
much to say that Mr. Hale's book notably contributed its share. 

It has long been out of print, but a few years ago several newly 
discovered Vermeers came to light within a short time, and a num- 
ber of the most beautiful of those previously known were, during 
the same period, transferred from their old European homes to the 
United States. Plans, therefore, were made for a revision and enlarge- 
ment of the book. The author had proceeded almost to the comple- 
tion of his work and had outlined his ideas for the final work of co- 
ordination with his new publishers-to-be (one of whom, as it 
happened — of the same name, though not a relative — had been 
associated with the original publication of the book) when his 
sudden death put an end for the time being to all work on the book. 

Recently, however, the publishers have deemed it advisable to see 
that the work, so well advanced, be carried to completion. With the 
cooperation of Mr. Hale's widow, Mrs. Lilian Westcott Hale, her- 
self also an important American painter, the final work of revision 
and enlargement, to bring together the original text and the author's 
manuscript and notes on the " new " pictures, was placed in the 
hands of those friends of the author who had been the most inti- 
mately associated with the author's preparation of the earlier book 
— Mr. Frederick W. Coburn, artist, art critic and contributor to the 
"Dictionary of American Biography," and Mr. Ralph T. Hale, 

xiv A Note by the Publishers 

editor and publisher, to whom Mr. Coburn had made the suggestion 
in 191 3 that Mr. Philip L. Hale be invited to write a book on 

This work of revision and coordination developed into a search 
for all possible discoverable material about Vermeer and a re- 
assessment of the knowledge of his life and works. Material never 
before found or, if known, never before gathered together, was 
made available as a result of this quest, — a quest with which Mr. 
Coburn and Mr. Hale were occupied for so many months that their 
task quickly took on the character of a delightful and exciting 
hobby, and even led the second of the twain to make a pilgrimage 
to Delft in the summer of 1936. 

The help of numerous scholars, librarians, museum staffs and 
many other individuals in the United States and Europe has been 
of inestimable value. 

The present volume, though based on the original work, is essen- 
tially a new book, as indeed the author intended that it should be. 
By examination of original sources and a challenge of every state- 
ment as to the " pedigree " and history of the several paintings, 
errors — made, in some instances, generations ago and repeated 
again and again — have been corrected, and the contributions of 
scholars brought together for the benefit of the lovers of Dutch art 
in general and of Vermeer in particular. 

The underlying vitality of the author's original treatment of Ver- 
meer's work is re-emphasized in the new book; here, as in the earlier 
volume, he gives the appreciative reader the privilege — almost, if 
not quite, unique among art books — of seeing a painter delineate, 
one after the other, the pictures of another painter, and criticise 
them as aptly and suggestively as he would criticise paintings done 
by one of his own contemporaries, or even one of his own art stu- 
dents. And after all, any researcher among the records can produce 
information about the physical facts of where a man was born, or 
died, or was buried, but only a painter with the painter's training and 
the painter's eye can really see what another painter has done and 
was trying to do. 

*By Way of (Acknowledgment 

With grateful thanks for 
information, suggestions, opinions or advice, as the case may be, 
acknowledgment is made to the following: 

To Dr. W. R. Valentiner, Director of the Detroit Institute 
of Art; to the staff of the Frick Art Reference Library, New 
York, and particularly to Miss Frick, Miss Manning and Miss 
Johnson; to Mr. H. G. Dwight, of the Frick Collection, New 
York; to Viscount Powerscourt, of Powerscourt Castle, En- 
niskerry, County Wicklow, Irish Free State; to the Trustees 
of the Boston Athenaeum, and especially to Miss Elinor Greg- 
ory, Miss Anne J. Pehrson and Miss Florence M. Hildebrandt, 
of the Athenaeum staff; to Mr. William Clifford, Librarian, and 
Mr. Harry B. Wehle, Curator of Paintings, of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, New York; to the Fine Arts Department of 
the Boston Public Library; to the staff of the library of the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; to Mr. Walter B. Briggs, Libra- 
rian of the Harvard College Library, and to the staff of the 
library of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard; to Mr. Alan Bur- 
roughs of Harvard; to Mr. Henri Marceau, Curator of the 
John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia; to Miss Standen of 
the Widener Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia; to Mr. 
Louis A. Holman of Boston; to Mr. Ernest Kletsch of the Union 
Catalogue, and Dr. Holland of the Fine Arts Department, of 
the Library of Congress, Washington; to the Lowell Art As- 
sociation, Lowell, Massachusetts; to Mr. Herbert W. Fison, 
Librarian of the Public Library, Maiden, Massachusetts; to 
Lilian Westcott Hale (Mrs. Philip L. Hale) of Dedham, Massa- 

xvi By Way of Acknowledgment 

chusetts; to the editors of the Art Digest, the Art News, the 
Burlington Magazine, the Pantheon, Oud-Holland, the Art 
Bulletin; to Mr. Andrew W. Mellon of Washington; to Mr. 
Ernest W. Savory of Bristol, England; to Mr. E. W. Edwards 
of Cincinnati; to Messrs. Duveen Brothers of New York; to 
Messrs. M. Knoedler & Co., of New York; to Mr. Max Roths- 
child of London; to Mr. W. B. Paterson of London; to Mr. 
Edouard Jonas of Paris and New York; to Mr. Leander 
McCormick-Goodhart, British Embassy, Washington, D. C; 
to Mr. Anthony Thieme, formerly of the Netherlands, now of 
Boston; to Mr. Cornelis Schutte of the Hotel Central, Delft; 
to Miss P. Beydals, Archivist of Delft; to Mr. W. H. van der 
Burgh of the Town Archives, Delft; to Mr. T. C. Visser, Cus- 
todian of the Town Museum, Delft; to Mr. Fred. Alex. Albers 
of Delft; to Mr. William Gorham Rice of Albany, N. Y. 

Thilip L. Hale — Jin appreciation 


L. Hale undertook the work of writing a book on " Jan Vermeer 
of Delft " was characteristic of the man. By inheritance from 
creatively vigorous ancestors, he was virile and versatile. As his 
friend Mr. Frank W. Buxton wrote, in an editorial article in 
the Boston Herald, " Hale was good as an art instructor, painter, 
writer and critic; better as a draftsman and anatomist; and best 
of all as a kindly, quizzical observer of the gorgeous pageantry 
of life." 

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 21, 1865, one of 
the several children of the Reverend Edward Everett Hale and 
Emily Baldwin (Perkins) Hale. His ancestry was distinguished 
and literary. His grandfather, Nathan Hale, a nephew of Na- 
than Hale, the American patriot, was for many years editor-in- 
chief of the Boston Daily Advertiser. Through his paternal 
grandmother, Sarah Preston Everett, he was of the old Puritan 
family of Everett, or Evered. In other lines, too, he was of 
notable Colonial lineage. His father, a graduate of Harvard in 
1839, a Unitarian minister long settled in Boston, was the au- 
thor of " The Man Without a Country," " A New England 
Boyhood," and many other books. At the Hale home in Rox- 
bury, Philip L. Hale developed from boyhood into youth, al- 
ready a big, muscular chap with a predilection for boxing and 
other athletic sports. He was fortunate in having parents who 
believed in allowing him to follow his various natural bents. 

" Four years of Harvard College, then law, or divinity, or 
business, or possibly architecture," wrote the present writer 

xviii Philip L. Hale — An Appreciation 

a number of years ago, in an article on Philip L. Hale and his art, 
" would have been the normal course for a son of the most emi- 
nent Unitarian clergyman of Boston, the more particularly as 
the boy was trained conventionally at the Roxbury Latin School 
for preliminaries, finals and the freshman football team. Paint- 
ing, however, had to some extent secured recognition as a pro- 
fession at least possible for a young man of good family in 
Boston, even though Mr. Hale himself has recalled how ' a 
worthy painter of high degree, for Boston, once said in a speech 
to some architects that one of the joys of being an architect was 
that it is a gentleman's profession, and he rather lamented his 
own lot of being in with a crowd of low fellows — painters, if 
you please.' 

" The limitation," the article continued, " upon Philip 
Hale's learning to draw and paint was that he should first 
pass his Harvard entrance examinations, a test of secondary 
school scholarship which he met, taking honours in English, 
a distinction rare at Harvard in the 1880's. He thereupon was 
permitted to enter the school of drawing and painting at the 
Boston Museum of Fine Arts; this had recently been organized 
under the direction of Otto Grundmann, a German artist who 
was an admirable teacher of academic drawing. Mr. Hale en- 
rolled himself later at the Art Students' League of New York 
where Kenyon Cox was teaching attentive students the manner 
of making a possible man out of a brave array of black dots, and 
where the young man from Boston was attracted especially by 
the teaching of J. Alden Weir, later president of the National 
Academy of Design. Paris followed in due course, — a couple 
of years at Julian's, after whose death Mr. Hale, writing of the 
teaching at the Julian academy, said: ' Julian — I write this for 
the uninitiate — did not himself teach, but engaged great and 
glorious masters like Bouguereau, Lefebvre, Boulanger, Tony 


1865-193 1 

Philip L. Hale — An Appreciation xix 

Robert-Fleury, Doucet, Constant, to come and criticise his 
classes.' " 

From Paris Mr. Hale returned to Boston where he painted, 
taught and wrote during the rest of his life. His abounding vital- 
ity, his wide range of interests, enabled him to express himself 
variously and effectively. 

His influence on his profession was far-reaching and salutary. 
He taught at the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for 
forty years, almost to the very day of his death from an emer- 
gency operation for appendicitis in 193 1. During much of that 
time it was the beginners who came under Philip L. Hale's in- 
struction. His patient and searching criticisms taught them re- 
spect and enthusiasm for the essentials of constructive drawing; 
from him they went well-prepared to paint in the classes of 
Frank W. Benson and Edmund C. Tarbell or to model in the 
sculpture department under Bela Lyon Pratt. For many years 
he also gave at the school each year a course of lectures in artistic 
anatomy, so interesting and so useful that after the war these 
were transferred from a schoolroom to the Museum lecture hall 
and were made available for a small fee to the general public. 
To Philadelphia Mr. Hale went weekly for some years to teach 
as a member of the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of 
Fine Arts, and he long had classes at Hartford, Connecticut, the 
home city of his wife and former pupil, Lilian Westcott Hale. 

As a painter Mr. Hale experimented widely, exploring the 
technical possibilities of his art with acumen, sagacity and great 
professional skill. In his early years he was interested in the 
problems of registration of light as Monet and Seurat had first 
stated them. He was an earnest student of design and composi- 
tion throughout his career. Scornful of the amateurishness of 
some of the " modernists " whose viewpoint he once described 
as " the last stand of the literati in art," he was nevertheless sym- 

xx Philip L. Hale — An Appreciation 

pathetic with the intent of the professionally trained and dis- 
criminating modernists to tell their artistic story through what 
he used to call " purposive deformations of character." 

His own work meantime commanded the respect and admira- 
tion of practically all groups of American artists, and as shown 
at the national exhibitions it won considerable popularity among 
laymen. It gained for the painter such distinctions and prizes 
as the following: Honourable mention, Pan-American Exposi- 
tion, Buffalo, 1 90 1 ; bronze medal, Louisiana Purchase Exposi- 
tion, St. Louis, 1904; gold medal, International Exposition, 
Buenos Aires, 19 10; Norman Wait Harris silver medal, Chicago 
Art Institute, 19 14; Proctor portrait prize, National Academy 
of Design, 191 6; Lea prize, Philadelphia Water Color Club, 
19 1 6; popular prize, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1919. 
Among his paintings which in his lifetime were acquired for 
public collections were: " The Crimson Rambler," Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of Fine Arts; " Spirit of Antique Art," National 
Museum, Montevideo, Uruguay; " Girl with Muff," Corcoran 
Art Gallery, Washington; " Girl with Pearls," Philadelphia 
Art Club. The Philip L. Hale Memorial Exhibition at the Boston 
Museum of Fine Arts in 193 1 brought together from public and 
private collections a great retrospective display of the paintings 
and drawings of an artist who to the end experienced no weak- 
ening of the creative urge. 

Mr. Hale wrote naturally and easily, as one of his family 
tradition should, and yet without the precision and conciseness 
of the trained professional author. He abhorred the literary 
criticism of art. He had abjured the kind of education which 
might have made him what one of his brothers became — a schol- 
arly professor of the English language and literature. He was 
averse to cultural pretence. He told with gusto the story of a 
fellow artist who when asked by other husky card-players in 

Philip L. Hale — An Appreciation xxi 

a railway smoker what business he was in replied quite truth- 
fully, " In the paint business." Mr. Hale, in brief, was hostile, 
by temperament and training, to literary dilettanteism. Yet, in 
a busy life, he wrote voluminously because he liked to say in 
print what he thought, and because he often felt that he had 
something which ought to be said. 

And surely he had. Criticising at various periods the exhibited 
work of fellow artists in the columns of three Boston news- 
papers, the Journal, the Advertiser, and the Herald, Philip L. 
Hale (his name often confused with that of his friend and con- 
temporary, Philip Hale, the music critic) expressed pungently, 
often humourously, and always with underlying seriousness 
his philosophy of art and life. He took delight in puncturing 
overblown solemnity. He was impatient with duffers and crude 
amateurs. Yet he was always the constructive critic, whether in 
his classroom or in a newspaper column. 

His philosophy of the art of painting Mr. Hale summed up in 
his " Jan Vermeer of Delft " ( 1 9 1 3 ) . He had given loving study 
to many of the Vermeers in public collections. He had edited 
the pictures and text of the little volume on Vermeer in the 
series " Masters in Art," brought out by his friends, Messrs. 
Bates and Guild, Boston. He was well prepared to undertake 
the larger work. 

No evaluation of Mr. Hale's personality and achievements 
has been more pregnantly suggestive to his friends, for rem- 
iniscence and regret, than the editorial article by Mr. Bux- 
ton from which we have already quoted: 

" His student days in Paris had added a touch of Gallic wit, 
lightness and kindness to the humour and solid intellectual qual- 
ities which had come down to him from a long line of distin- 
guished ancestors. Humanity of any kind beguiled him, the 
pugilist and the baseball player being as attractive to him as 

xxii Philip L. Hale — An Appreciation 

an imposing figure of the pulpit or the laboratory. He took great 
pleasure in working for hours and days on one bit of work; 
it was just as much fun for him to sit from early in the evening 
until two or three in the morning at a boxing tournament. He 
worked harder than was necessary and did not watch his health 
any too carefully, and died in the prime of his powers. The 
literary talent of his father, Edward Everett Hale, was in him, 
but he loved to teach, to paint and to draw — especially to draw. 
This draftsmanship has been characterized as ' superb.' Just as 
there are lawyers' lawyers and doctors' doctors, there are art- 
ists' artists, men whose work can be appreciated fully only by 
those who are themselves masters of their craft. Hale as a 
draftsman belonged in such a class. 

" What a jovial companion he was! He had read widely, 
seen much, and, like Walt Whitman and Francois Villon, he 
took huge delight in being alive and knowing others who shared 
the zest of living. He ' went across ' after a minute or two of ac- 
quaintance, and the impression which he made was always sharp 
and pleasing. A peculiar timbre in his voice made his talk a joy. 

" At sixty-five he was intellectually more supple than in his 
twenties. He had much admiration for the magazine illustrator, 
the comic strip artist, the cartoonist, the ' dinner-pail artists,' 
as he used to style them sympathetically. An art instructor all 
his life, he had nothing of the rule-of-thumb dogmatist and 
birchman in him. The absence of popular recognition of his 
work had not embittered him in the least. He took life as it came, 
and it was better because he was part of it." 

Frederick W. Coburn 

Fan I 

The Man and his Times 

I * %Jermeer the Supreme Taint er 


found by a process of elimination. It may be a challenging state- 
ment to call Jan Vermeer of Delft the greatest painter who has 
ever lived. Yet in sheer downright painting, he was in most 
respects the leader of all. There were giants, of course, such as 
Velazquez, Rubens and Rembrandt, who did very wonderful 
things, but none of these ever conceived of arriving at tone by 
an exquisitely just relation of colour values — the essence of 
contemporary painting that is really good. 

Various qualities in Vermeer's work are those for which the 
best painters of our day strive: his design, his colour values, his 
edges, his way of using the square touch, his occasionally poin- 
tille touch, all of which are qualities that one seldom observes 
in other old masters. We of today particularly admire Vermeer 
because he has attacked what seem to us significant problems 
or motives, and has solved them, on the whole, as we like to 
see them solved. And with this he has been able to retain some- 
thing of the serenity, poise and finish that we regard as pecul- 
iarly the property of the old masters. Our present-day work is 
often petulant; that of the old masters was generally serene. 

True it is, as will appear in the discussion to follow, that Ver- 
meer was not always wholly successful. Nobody ever has been, 
and doubtless no one ever will be. It is silly to ascribe to one's 
hero all the virtues; it is enough to point out the qualities which 
he possesses. 

By and large, Vermeer has more great painting qualities and 
fewer defects than any other painter of any time or place. He 

4 Vermeer 

was born in 1632 and died at the age of forty-three in 1675; 
and it is when one compares him with other great artists of his 
own day and land that his superiority is most manifest. Ter- 
borch, by comparison with Vermeer, appears sleazy and man- 
nered; de Hooch looks hot and stodgy; even Metsu, perhaps 
the most accomplished technician of them all, seems rather arti- 
ficial and by no means alert to colour values. Each of these men, 
of course, had extraordinary qualities. But Vermeer combined 
within himself most of their good qualities and avoided many 
of their defects. 

His manner of seeing is the basic excellence of Vermeer's art 
— the thing that sets it apart from the work of other men. 
Where others had a genius for drawing or for colouration, he 
had a genius for vision. One arrives, while studying his work 
carefully, at a feeling that he looked at things harder than others 
have looked at them. Many painters acquire a manner of making 
things, a parti-pris, which impels them to distort nature to suit 
their book. Vermeer, too, had his manner of workmanship, but 
after he had laid his picture in, and indeed carried it quite far, 
he seems to have sat back and looked at what was before him 
again and again to see if there was anything he could do to his 
picture to make it portray more closely the real aspect of na- 
ture — la vraie verite, as Gustave Courbet liked to call it. His 
almost perfect rendering was the outcome of perfect under- 

There is a tendency in appraising the work of artists to adore 
warm, picturesque personalities. To some writers Rembrandt 
is a delight not so much on account of the qualities of his paint- 
ing as because of his remarkable way of living. Goya is admired 
not merely because of his good painting but also because he was 
a bull fighter. Many feel that they must have the work of a man 
rich, warm, passionate. They are not interested that it shall be 

Vermeer the Supreme Painter 5 

right. Many of us, indeed, have forgotten that there is a beauty 
in Tightness; that there really is no beauty without it. 

Vermeer's art has this quality of cool, well-planned Tightness 
to the full. He holds, as it were, a silver mirror up to nature, but 
he tells no merely pleasant tale as he holds it. His work is as 
intensely personal as any that was ever done, but it offers a per- 
sonality disengaged from self-consciousness during the making 

His name is not surrounded by the kind of fame for which a 
more accurate word is notoriety. He was no playboy of the 
boulevards, he did not run away with some rival painter's wife, 
he did not do eccentric things of the kind for which, again, the 
better term is egocentric. On the contrary, so little was known 
of him for about two hundred and fifty years that the impres- 
sion became fixed that almost nothing at all was known about 
him. Following the lead of his " rediscoverer," M. Theophile 
Thore, who called him " the Sphinx of Delft," those members of 
the general public who knew anything about him at all — even 
so much as his name — thought of him as a man of mystery. 
They came almost to doubt his very existence and to wonder 
how pictures painted so entrancingly could be the work of a 
man so little known and so completely without any background 
of alluring anecdote. Indeed, as we shall see, many of his pic- 
tures themselves were for years attributed to other painters, 
some through ignorance, some through deliberate fraud, be- 
cause they would sell better if they bore some other name than 
his — some name that was at the moment better known. 

It may truly be said that the real romance of Vermeer is the 
extraordinary story of how he sank into oblivion, slumbered 
for centuries and then came again out of his deep obscurity into 
the light of fame. For, as we shall see, he was by no means an 
unimportant figure in his own day. Modern research, the results 

6 Vermeer 

of which are presented in later pages, has established the fact 
that he attained the status of master painter in the Guild of St. 
Luke at Delft when he was barely twenty-one, the son of par- 
ents who came from families on the whole of fairly substantial 
means; that he was mentioned in a poem written when he was 
scarcely twenty-two in a way which indicates how highly he 
was considered as a young man of promise; that he had already 
married at twenty the daughter of a woman who clearly re- 
garded him as a good and dependable son-in-law throughout his 
comparatively short life; that he was, during at least four dif- 
ferent years, one of the six Syndics of the Guild and for two of 
those years their chairman or president; that he was especially 
visited by a French connoisseur in his studio; that he was par- 
ticularly mentioned in the voluminous work of the local his- 
torian during his own lifetime; that throughout his career as a 
painter in Delft he associated on equal terms in responsible 
positions with men much older than himself; that there is rea- 
son to believe that his pictures brought excellent prices during 
his own day because sales records show that in the years imme- 
diately following his death they sold for sums which compared 
favorably with those paid for the work of other men. For rea- 
sons which will be set forth later, however, Vermeer's reputa- 
tion presently languished and the fame which seemed likely to 
be his passed him by. We see, perhaps, an early indication of 
this in the record of a sale of pictures less than half a century- 
after his death when the dealer, in listing a picture by Vermeer 
of Delft, set forth as a selling argument that it was as good as 
an Eglon van der Neer. 

One of the reasons why his reputation became obscured may 
have been because so few of his pictures came into public view. 
If it be true, as some scholars surmise, that his productive 
years, which in the nature of things could not have been much 

Vermeer the Supreme Painter 7 

more than twenty, were really no more than ten, the number 
of paintings which he left behind him must still be regarded as 
small, even when one realizes how much time it must have taken 
to paint as he painted. There are not fifty well-authenticated 
pictures by Vermeer known to be in the world today, and the 
number of " lost " Vermeers, even if one includes some dubi- 
ously recorded attributions, is small. A painter whose name sel- 
dom turned up in the sales catalogues could not become widely 
known by that easiest of all methods of publicity — getting fre- 
quently mentioned; and with so limited a number of pictures to 
change hands the occasions when a Vermeer would be offered 
would naturally be few. And so it was perhaps not surprising, 
when John Smith wrote his nine-volume work on the most 
eminent Dutch, Flemish and French painters, in 1833, that he 
remarked, with curious logic, in the tiny paragraph which he 
devoted to Vermeer, " this painter is so little known, by reason 
of the scarcity of his works, that it is quite inexplicable how he 
attained the excellence many of them exhibit." 

Inexplicable or not, " the excellence many of them exhibit " 
was the thing which finally brought Vermeer the fame so long 
denied him, for when in the middle fifties of the nineteenth 
century M. Thore saw the View of Delft at The Hague, he was 
so impressed by its excellence that he set out forthwith on his 
quest for more pictures by its little known painter. 

That was the beginning. The growth of Vermeer's fame was 
slow, but it was steady, and it was safe and sure. Now and then 
an article appeared, and now and then a book. Errors of fact 
and errors of surmise were repeated, after the manner of writ- 
ers, from one writer to another. Slowly the obscurity was lifted, 
however, and the facts emerged. 

Perhaps the most obvious evidence of a painter's fame is 
where his pictures are to be found and how much they bring 

8 Vermeer 

in the marketplace. In Vermeer's case, of the forty-odd pic- 
tures satisfactorily ascribed to him, more than four-fifths have 
arrived at final and permanent homes in public museums and of 
the few others several are in collections which are on their way 
to becoming public property. The time is not far distant, there- 
fore, when the opportunity to apply the criterion of price to 
a picture by Vermeer will have gone and when it will not be 
a matter of sensational news that an American collector has 
bought a Vermeer for $290,000 or that another American col- 
lector has orTered his for a quarter of a million dollars. When 
twenty-one of Vermeer's paintings were sold in Amsterdam 
in 1696 they brought all told only 1404 florins, a small sum 
judged by modern standards, even though, as has already been 
said, their prices were not small by comparison with others. 
With scarcely more than twice as many accounted for today, 
Mr. James Henry Duveen has estimated the total value of the 
entire small number at about twenty-five million dollars (five 
million pounds) . When the Music Lesson was bought as a van 
Mieris for King George III, it cost less than $500 ( £ 100) ; now 
it is said to be worth from $400,000 to $500,000 (,£80,000 to 
,£100,000). The Milkivoman sold for about $70 in 1696; some 
two centuries later it was bought for the Rijks Museum at Am- 
sterdam for about $ 1 20,000 ( ,£24,000) . Instances might be mul- 
tiplied, but the fuller story will be found in Part II of the present 
volume where we shall see the records of sale of this, that or the 
other picture, and shall be able to apply the yardstick of mar- 
ket value to the fluctuations of Vermeer's fame during the years 
in which his paintings have lifted his name to the heights be- 
cause of " the excellence many of them exhibit." 

The personality which through the years has eluded those 
whose attention can be caught only by the beating of the drum 
is revealed in the device of subject, in the arrangement of col- 


_,. Vermeer 

Plate 2 

etplace. In Vermeer's case, of the forty-odd pic- 
I ictorily ascribed to him, more than four-fifths have 
I at final and permanent homes in public museums and of 
:\ others several are in collections v I their way 

, public property. Th<. 
vhen the opportun 
'ire by Ver 

• >f sensational 
a Vermeer for 
as offered his f< 

one of Vermc e sold i Jam 

• <>6 they brougb - 04 flor no 

\m Vwverof Delft s already been 

heir prices THE MUS1C LESS oN ,son with others ' 

Royal Convxrinv. Great Britain 
ire sn\2\\<&&malh kiioum as the Windsor Castle Vemreer) 
llion pounds). Wl 
for King G< 
id to b- 

two a - 

sterdamforal ■ night be mul- 

>lied,butth< Partllofthep; 

volume where e of thi.<. 

other picture, anci c yards' 

ket value to the fli 

ch his pain' ame to 

of"theex< n exhibi 

personality *e years h; 

attention can be caug the bea? 

iled in the device of t\ in the ami 

[Text on Page 152] 

Vermeer the Supreme Painter 9 

ours, in the registration of colour values and of edges; it does 
not appear in little graces of indication and handling. The man 
simply painted on, striving for and attaining the Tightness of 
things, not cunning little affectations, taking mannerisms or en- 
gaging graces. He conceived and sought the best arrangement 
of line and colour that he could achieve. He must have had the 
thought, uttered or unexpressed, that if only he could make his 
painting just like what was before him it would comprise all 
the valid technical merits. 

And it is this thought of the supreme value of Tightness of 
artistic perception that is the underlying idea of the chapters to 
follow on Vermeer, the man and the artist. 

II • Delft and the ''Background of 
%Jermeers cArt 

Xnto Delft one comes nowa- 
days by train or tram or motor-car. The Dutch trains are fast 
and comfortable, the trams are well-equipped and cheap, and 
the motor-roads, whether for the bus or for one's own car, are 
among the best in the world. 

The Delft of today is a lovely old town of some fifty thou- 
sand inhabitants. An important educational centre, it is filled 
with historical associations for the Netherlander, and the latter 
is justly proud of his country and its achievements. Compared 
with the great business centres, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, 
Delft is quiet and peaceful. The motor-car runs smoothly over 
its bricked streets and across the many bridges spanning the 
canals which occupy the centre of most of them. Everywhere 
is the bicycle, noiseless except for its tinkling bell. Jurists, busi- 
ness men, clergymen, nuns, women going to do their shopping, 
schoolboys and schoolgirls — everybody in Delft, as elsewhere 
in Holland, uses the bicycle. Activity without bustle, earnest 
endeavour without rough and rowdy noise, cleanliness, kindli- 
ness and good manners — these are characteristic of Delft, as of 
all Holland. 

In Vermeer's time the visitor came into Delft by the high- 
way, or perhaps even more often by canal-boat. Then, as now, 
the city was encircled by the Singel Gracht, part of the great 
intercommunicating canal system of Holland. Outside of the 
Singel Gracht is today a moderate development of new streets. 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's Art ii 

One of these streets, to the eastward of the old town, is called 
Vermeerstraat; farther to the north, on the same side, is Rem- 
. brandtstraat. To gain admittance to Delft in the days of Ver- 
meer, one crossed the Singel Gracht through various city gates: 
the Haagsche Poort, the Kettel Poort, the Oost Poort, the 
Rotterdamsche Poort, and so on. Of these only the Oost Poort 
remains today and through it one enters the city from the road 
from Rotterdam. The Rotterdamsche Poort was the spired gate 
shown in Vermeer's View of Delft; though the gate has been 
demolished, there is a bridge at the same point and the canal 
is scarcely changed after nearly three centuries. 

Today, as in Vermeer's time, the great churches of the town 
are the Old Church, begun about 1 250, directly across the Oude 
Delft from the Prinsenhof , and the New Church, built between 
1396 and 1496, on the easterly side of the marketplace. In the 
Old Church Vermeer and his wife are both buried, though the 
spot is unmarked and unknown. In the New Church, where 
Vermeer's baptism took place, lies William the Silent, and the 
church to this day is the burial place of the royal family of 
the Netherlands. Its tall tower, 375 feet high, is to be seen in 
the right centre of Vermeer's View of Delft, and today it still 
looms high above the city and the surrounding country. From 
it still sounds the carillon of forty bells installed in 1663 by 
Frans Hemony, who with his brother Pieter made the bells 
which, Mr. William Gorham Rice tells us, (in his charming 
" Carillon Music and Singing Towers of the Old World and 
the New,") " remain predominant in the towers of the Low 
Countries today." As one hears this carillon pealing out its lovely 
music every half hour, one can fancy Vermeer's own delight in 
its melodies, as he sat in his house at No. 25 Oude Langendijk, 
almost in the very shadow of the tower itself. 

Opposite the New Church across the marketplace, with the 

12 Vermeer 

statue of Hugo Grotius between, is the Town Hall, built in 
161 8, where pictures by another Delft master, M. J. Miereveld, 
are still to be seen. 

The marketplace of Delft has always been, and still is, the 
lively, though orderly, centre of the town's activities. The placid 
existence of the burghers of Delft, however, was harshly shat- 
tered on one notable occasion, the date of which is as outstanding 
in the town's annals as are 1066 and 1492 in world history. For, 
there were powder magazines in Delft in Vermeer's day, as 
now, hard though it be to associate the peaceful calm of the 
place with anything so warlike. One of these blew up. The date 
was October 12, 1654. Among the victims was Vermeer's 
painter friend, Carel Fabritius. 

In the Johnson Collection in Philadelphia is a painting by 
Pieter de Hooch depicting a view of Delft after this great 
disaster. The picture shows sites of houses with only the cellar 
walls standing, other houses with cracked walls or rooms with 
their outer walls removed by the explosion, quite like a city 
which has suffered from a war-time bombardment. In the fore- 
ground is a half-grown boy with his right arm in a sling and a 
bandage around his forehead — altogether a realistic portrayal. 
The explosion was commemorated also in contemporary pot- 

The magazine which blew up contained 85,000 pounds of 
gunpowder. The exact number killed has never been known. 
The sound, it is said, was heard at Helder, seventy miles away, 
between the North Sea and the Zuider Zee, more than thirty 
miles north of Amsterdam. Over 200 houses in Delft were com- 
pletely demolished and there was no building in the town that 
was not damaged. As a major disaster to the town this explosion 
of 1654 was ranked with the great fire of 1536 which had de- 
stroyed three-quarters of the buildings. Delft arose bravely 
from both these great calamities. 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's Art 13 

In Sir Philip Skippon's " Account of a Journey made thro' 
part of the Low-Countries, Germany, Italy and France," the 
writer tells of his visit to Delft, in 1663. At Rotterdam, " May 
25, about six in the afternoon," he says, " we took our seats in 
the passage-boat, somewhat like our pleasure-barges on the 
Thames (such a boat goes off every hour of the day) and by one 
horse were drawn in two hours' time, two Dutch miles to Delft. 

" In this passage there was a collection made by the boatmen 
among the passengers for the poor. 

" Delft is a large city very fairly built, having channels of 
water running through many of the streets: the exchange is a 
neatly paved area (paved with brick) having one side and a half 
cloistered. We observed a cryer in the streets, who before he 
spoke, struck a piece of brass, and made a noise like the sound 
of a tinker's kettle, which was instead of ringing a bell, used by 
the cryers in England. The marketplace is a fair square, where 
the stadthouse stands; a neat building adorned with a curious gilt 
front, and a handsome statue of justice. Over the door is written 
' Haec Domus odit 1530.' 

" Two large churches in this City, each having two organs. 

" On the 28th of May was a great fair for cattle, etc. Delft is 
noted for making earthern ware. An English church here. 

" 1 Scout or Praetor, 2 Burgomasters, 7 Scabini and 40 of the 
Vroetschap rule this town. 

" May 28. In an hour's time we went by boat to the Hague," 
— an entry which throws interesting light on the ease and regu- 
larity of travel in the Holland of that day, then, as now, orderly 
in all its affairs. 

No longer is the Town Hall " adorned with a curious gilt 
front." But the survival of a custom mentioned by Sir Philip is 
worthy of note. May 28, 1663, fell on Thursday; today, as in 
1663, if the traveler finds himself in Delft on a Thursday, he 
will still find market being held in the great marketplace, for 

14 Vermeer 

the sale of cheeses, flowers, and other commodities, and if he 
will walk through the Moolepoort, past Vermeer's house on the 
Oude Langendijk, he will presently find himself in the Beesten 
Markt and see the cattle and sheep and hogs offered for sale, 
and hear their barnyard calls. Market-day in Delft is still 

Incidentally Sir Philip tells how " at one Jean Vander Mere's, 
an apothecary, we saw a museum, or cabinet of varieties." The 
author gives a long list of animals and curiosities, among them 
" zebra or civet-cat, a piece of a rhinoceros's skin, the head of a 
dolphin, a giant's tooth, an elephant's tooth, petim buaba. or 
tobacco-pipe fish, the cup prince William of Nassau last drank 
out of, the idol Isis, another idol being a brass heron on a tor- 
toise, Indian dice, a Japan letter written to the Dutch governor, 
a locust of the kind St. John the Baptist ate, the brains of a sea- 
cow petrified, etc." " This Apothecary," says the author, " hath 
a garden of rare plants, which he was not at leisure to shew us." 
The apothecary was one of five Jan van der Meers contempo- 
rary with our artist. He is referred to in other accounts of the 
day as Dr. van der Meer. 

Delft, in its activities dating from at least the tenth century, 
was a large, prosperous town, perhaps the most important manu- 
facturing centre in Europe, when Vermeer lived there. East 
India House, still to be seen on the Oude Delft, was the centre 
of Holland's great trade with the Far East. Its potteries gave 
it distinction, and it had at least thirty of these, in which as 
many as 2000 of Delft's 24,000 inhabitants were employed. 
In them were made the tiles and faience still sought by col- 
lectors. Dr. W. R. Valentiner refers to a plausible tradition to 
the effect that Vermeer himself had employment as a decorator 
of tiles and vases. Certain it is that many of these blue and white 










The reader should note that the map shows East, not North, at the top. 

After nearly three hundred years, this map, drawn in 1667, apart from incidental 
changes and the moderate development of the town outside of the Singel Gracht — 
the canal which then, as now, encircled it and connected it with the rest of Holland 
— is a satisfactory guide to the Delft of the twentieth century. 

In the centre, on the west side of the marketplace (Groote Markt) was, and 
still is, the Town Hall, erected in 1618 and restored in 1838, which contains paint- 
ings by another Delft painter, M. J. Miereveld (1 567-1641). In front of the 
Town Hall, and facing it, is today the statue of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), 
erected in 1886. Opposite the Town Hall, across the marketplace, is the New 
Church, erected between 1396 and 1496. Here Vermeer was baptised October 31, 
1632, and here Anthony van Leeuwenhoek was baptised the next day. William the 
Silent is buried in the New Church, which is still the burial place of the royal 
family of the Netherlands. Its tall tower, 375 feet high, is to be seen in the right 
centre of Vermeer's View of Delft, and today it can still be seen, looming high 
above the city. From this tower the carillon of forty bells installed by Frans 
Hemony in 1663 today as of old rings out lovely melodies. 

To the northwest of the marketplace, in a square by itself, directly across the 
Oude Delft from the Prinsenhof, in which William the Silent was assassinated 
July 10, 1584, is the Old Church, which was already four centuries old in Vermeer's 
day. Here both Vermeer and his wife are buried, though the spot is unmarked and 
unknown. The guild-house of the Guild of St. Luke, from 1662 until it was de- 
molished in 1876, was in the Voldersgracht, the first street north of the market- 
place. The Oude Langendijk, where, at No. 25, Vermeer lived much of his life 
and where he died, is the street which can be seen first south of the marketplace. 

16 Vermeer 

plaques were adorned with landscapes, some of which are in the 
style of the best masters of Holland. The name of many a 
plateelschilder (plaque-painter, i.e., designer and painter of 
Delft ware) and many a plateelbacker (master potter) stands in 
the record of admissions to the Guild of St. Luke. Among these 
is one who conceivably may have been related to Jan Vermeer: 
Arij Janse (son of Jan) van der Meer, admitted as a plateel- 
backer on July 20, 1 67 1. He was born in 1638, a son of Jan 
Adriaensz van der Meer, a ship carpenter. He married in 1655 
Cornelia Schoonhove, owner of the Griffin Pottery. He worked 
in the Chinese fashion. 

The Masterbook of the Guild of St. Luke, in two volumes, 
discovered in the Royal Library at The Hague, contains entries 
from 161 1 to 17 15. The Guild consisted of eight bodies of art- 
ists and workmen: 1. Painters of every kind, whether in oil or 
water, pencil, or otherwise, no distinction apparently being 
made between the artist and the whitewasher or house-painter; 

2. Painters and engravers upon glass, glassmakers and glaziers; 

3 . Master potters and painters upon pottery, the production of 
which, as has just been indicated, was the largest single industry 
in Delft; 4. Upholsterers and makers of tapestry; 5. Sculptors 
in wood, stone, and all other substances; 6. Sheath or case mak- 
ers; 7. Printers and bookmen; 8. Dealers in paintings and engrav- 
ings. All the trades which involved the arts of design were here 

The Guild had absolute power over every article produced 
by these trades; no person could execute or cause to be executed 
any object appertaining to them without the authority of the 
Syndics (Headmen), and every infraction of their rules was 
visited by a fine of ten florins, and forfeiture of the object exe- 
cuted. Any unauthorized person attempting to work at any of 
these trades, even putting in a pane of glass, for instance, was 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's Art 17 

subject to a fine of twelve florins and confiscation. Nobody- 
could sell a painting, a piece of glass, or a piece of pottery, with- 
out being a member of the Guild. Before becoming a master 


craftsman every person had to serve an apprenticeship of six 
years, the fees for which were one florin six sols for a native, 
two florins twelve sols for one not of Delft; at the end of every 
two years the contract had to be renewed until the full term was 
completed, which involved a fresh payment. The fees for mas- 
tership were heavy for the period: for a native of Delft six 

18 Vermeer 

florins, for an outsider twelve florins, for the son of a member 
three florins. 

The Guild established a school of design, which all the ap- 
prentices were obliged to attend, and held annual meetings for 
the distribution of prizes to the most efficient. By Vermeer's 
day the custom had been established for each trade to raise a 
fund for mutual help to the sick and needy, and to maintain alms- 
houses for those incapable of work. 

The output of the Delft potteries reached its peak about the 
year 1680. During the eighteenth century these gradually de- 
clined in importance, until by 1780 they numbered not more 
than fifteen and in 1 790 only ten. By 1 808 there were only seven, 
which by degrees also disappeared. The industry was revived 
when a factory was established in 1 876 by Messrs. Joost Thooft 
& Labouchere, still in existence. 

Vermeer, who, as we have already seen, became a member 
of the Guild of St. Luke, when he was only twenty-one years 
old, may very well have had a hand in the erection of the 
Guild's new building, for which in 1 660 permission was granted 
by the authorities. The new building was placed on the site of 
the former Chapel of St. Christopher, of the Home for Old 
Men, on the Voldersgracht, the street next north of, and parallel 
to, the marketplace. The structure was completed and dedi- 
cated in 1662. On its front it had as a crowning adornment in 
the tympanum of the pediment a bust of Apelles. Below the 
architrave were three tablets. The central one of these bore the 
arms of the City of Delft; the tablet to the right, the arms of 
the Guild and that to the left the arms of Dirk Meerman, a 
former burgomaster and a Maecenas who presumably had helped 
to finance the undertaking. Under the four windows of the floor 
above the ground floor were garlands, or swags, in white stone, 
bearing the emblems of the four principal arts of the Guild: 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's Art 19 

those of the painters, the glass makers, the potters and the 
printers. These are still preserved in the Rijks Museum in 
Amsterdam. Within the building, as the Delft writer van Bleys- 
wijck described it, in his book on Delft, in 1667, the painters, 
potters, and workers in glass vied with each other in decorating 
the great hall and other rooms. The building was demolished 
in 1876 and a town school erected on its site. 

From the year 1662 no strangers were allowed by the Guild 
to trade at Delft. The Guild had at first four Syndics. Later, 
with the great increase of members, this number was increased 
to six — two potters, two glaziers or makers of glass, and two 

Whatever professional work Jan Vermeer may or may not 
have done in connection with the leading industry of Delft, he 
practised an art which was highly appreciated in his native land, 
the Netherlands of the middle seventeenth century. His fellow 
countrymen could afford to buy paintings. Delft shared the 
prosperity which, since the war with Spain, had made Holland 
a rich state. The Hollanders had founded their East India trade 
on the ruins of that of the Spanish and the Portuguese, nor had 
they, as yet, lost it to the English. Pictures were highly prized, 
and many a great landowner, many a merchant, was proud of 
his well-chosen collection. 

That the taste for pictures was pretty general in Holland in 
the seventeenth century may be gathered from the diary of 
John Evelyn, who recorded on August 13, 1641 : " We arrived 
late at Roterdam, where was their annual marte or faire, so 
furnished with pictures (especially landskips and drolleries as 
they call those clounish representations) that I was amaz'd. 
Some I bought and sent into England. The reson of this store of 
pictures and their cheapness proceedes from their want of land 

20 Vermeer 

to employ their stock; so it is an ordinary thing to find a com- 
mon farmer lay out two or 3000 1. for his com'odity. Then- 
houses are full of them, and they vend them at their faires to 
very great gaines." 

Some of the men who bought these works of art had adven- 
tured in the India trade and had returned with their pockets 
lined with gold mohurs and pieces of eight. Some were rough 
navigators who had stopped Spanish caravels on the high seas 
and piled gold bullion and silver ingots, and diamonds from 
Brazil, into their high-pooped ships; or saturnine aristocrats, 
rich from the happy ending of the Spanish war. These men 
were not the crude " Dutchmen " whom the contemporary 
English saw, or imagined; they were, as a rule, gentlemen who 
tasted curiously every form of aesthetic enjoyment then 
known. They were capable of going to war over a few precious 
tulips. They collected rich wares from China and Japan. In 
their houses were rugs which their merchants in the Russia trade 
bought at Archangel or, perchance, venturing greatly, at the 
great fair at Nijni Novgorod. Their seamen, after the Jesuit 
missions were proscribed in Japan, were the only Europeans 
permitted to land at Tokio and Nagasaki and these brought 
home Japanese ceramics, fantastic furniture and now and then 
perhaps one of the screen paintings loved by the slant-eyed 
children of the chrysanthemum. 

Very large collections of paintings were seldom made in 
Holland, but each room in a great house was fittingly adorned 
by some conversation piece in its intricately moulded frame. Or 
it may be, if the owner had an unconventional taste, there were 
seen on his walls cocks and hens of a Chinese breed, painted by 
Melchior d' Hondekoeter, or rare flowers by Jan van Huy- 
sum — or even snakes, newts and lizards depicted by the ec- 
centric Otto Marcellis van Schrieck. 

I mw 



v^tfl wo mT] 

Plate 3 


find a c 
for hi >dity. Their 

td <eir f aires to 


Inn Vermeer of Delft 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 

[Text on Page 168] 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's Art 21 

Historians of the fine arts comment on the domesticity of 
Dutch art. It naturally took this character. The Protestant faith, 
held by most of the people of Holland, discouraged pictorial 
decoration of the churches. Mural paintings, such as were pro- 
duced in Italy and Germany for ecclesiastical adornment, had 
almost no vogue in the Netherlands. Religious pictures were 
made, but generally they were small. Metsu painted a few of 
them — and they are his worst. Vermeer delineated Mary and 


Martha, and while in this work he did not make himself as 
ridiculous as poor Metsu did, the picture is one of his least 
interesting — assuming that it is his. 

A notable phenomenon of the land and time of Jan Vermeer 
was the number of good painters proportionately to the popu- 
lation. Holland had not more than two million inhabitants — 
and yet what a glorious company of artists throve among them! 
Besides the very great painters, their names known to every- 
body, there were such men as Otto van Veen of Leyden, who 
taught Rubens; Abraham Bloemaert of Gorcum, who " painted 
landscapes and animals in good taste "; Cornells van Poelen- 


burgh of Utrecht, worthy pupils of whom were Daniel Vertan- 
gen and Jan van Haensbergen; Jan Wynants of Haarlem, good 
at landscape, as was Jan de Heem of Utrecht. Among artists 
who, like Vermeer, practised the painting of simple folk were 
Pieter van Laar, the two Ostades and Jan Steen. Worthy land- 
scape painters were Jan Both of Utrecht and Herman Swane- 
velt of Woerden. Gerard Dou was celebrated, and many liked 
the work of Jan Fyt, " a painter of beasts." One of the few 
military painters was Jan Asselijn who drew battles " with a 
delicate pencil." Willem van Bemmel of Utrecht was painting 
landscapes the while. Philip Wouwerman painted battles and 
hunting pieces, travellers and robbers. As a landscape painter 
Anthonie Waterlo had a great vogue. Nicolaas Berghem and 
Paul Potter did cattle, the latter hardly so well as the critic 
Fromentin has seemed to suppose. Others were Ludolph Back- 
huysen and his storms at sea; Frans van Mieris, who painted 
tempests in a teapot; Pieter Cornelisz van Slingelandt, called 
" hardly less accurate." Albert Cuyp gained fame from his sun- 
lit landscapes; Karel du Jardin and Adriaen van de Velde from 
similar motives. Arnold van der Neer affected moonlight scenes, 
and Adriaan van der Werff concocted delicate trifles. Jan van 
Huysum achieved very wonderful flower pieces whereon drops 
of water and crawling ants could be seen without a magnifying 
glass. Pieter van der Hulst of Dordrecht was also a realist in 
genre painting. Others of Vermeer's time were Cornells Ketel, 
Bartholomeus van der Heist, Allart van Everdingen, Willem 
Kalf, Melchior d'Hondekoeter, Cornells de Bruyn, the two 
Houbrakens, Rachel Ruisch, Cornells Dusart, Cornells Troost. 
The country pullulated artists. One wonders how they all lived, 
especially as Dutch paintings were rarely sold abroad, until 
much later. The people of Holland loved pictures and bought 
them as they were able, even persons of small means forming 
modest collections, — and living with them. 

Ill • What is known about Jan %Jermeer 
of T>elft 

Jlrom the archives of Delft, 
charming old town of the Netherlands, famous for its glazed 
earthenware, the last resting-place of the heroic House of 
Nassau, where William of Orange met his untimely death at 
the hands of an assassin; the birthplace of Hugo Grotius, scholar 
and statesman, and of Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, " first of the 
microbe hunters ": 

In the book of baptisms at the New Church, among seven 
baptised on that day: October 5/, 1632 — "A child Joannes. 

' The father is Reynier son of Jan. The mother, Dingnum, 
daughter of Balthasar: the witnesses are Pieter Brammer, Jan, 
son of Heyndrick, and Martha, daughter of Jan." 1 

In the town museum of Delft, situated in the Prinsenhof, in 
which William the Silent was assassinated, is to be seen an 
aquarelle which shows the house in which Vermeer was born. 
The house faced the marketplace, at the northwest corner 
of the little street which originallv led from the marketplace 
to the Home for Old Men across the Voldersgracht; this street 
is still called the Oudemanshuissteeg. In the aquarelle the house 
of the Guild of St. Luke can be seen in the background. Ver- 
meer's birthplace was torn down in 1 884 so that the street could 
be made twice its original width. 

1 The entry in the Doopboek (book of baptisms), in the language of seventeenth 
century Holland, is as follows: " Dito 't Joannes/Vader Reynier Janssoon, Moeder 
Dingnum Balthasars, getuijgen Pr. Brammer, Jan Heijndricxz, Maertge Jans." 

24 Vermeer 

April $, 1653 — " Johannes, son of Reynier Vermeer, celi- 
bate, living at the market place — to Catharina Bolenes, maiden, 
from the same locality." 2 

Maria Tins, Vermeer's wife's mother, was the widow of 
Reynier Bolnes, a brickmaker at Gouderack near Gouda. The 
family from which she came was well-to-do, according to the 
records of property ownership in which the names of Maria 
Tins Bolnes and Catharina Bolnes appear. 

From the Masterbook of the Guild of St. Luke, Delft (in 
the Royal Library at The Hague) his record as a new member 
received into the Guild as master painter: 

December 29, 1653 — " And for the right of mastership he 
has paid 1 florin, 10 stuyvers — still owing 4 florins, 10 stuyvers." 
" On the 24th of July 1656 he has paid in full." 3 

The Masterbook states that in 1662 Vermeer was made one 
of the " Headmen," or Syndics, of the Guild, for the first time, 
serving two years. Again he filled the same honourable and re- 
sponsible office during the years 1670 and 1671. Twice he was 
chosen president. 

As showing with whom Vermeer was associated in the gov- 
ernment of a guild whose membership included painters, sculp- 
tors, printers, potters and other artist craftsmen, the following 
entries are pertinent: 1662, "The Board of Governors (or 
Syndics) for this year were Cornells de Man, Arent van Sanen, 
Aelbrecht Keijser, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Dirckse van der 
Laen, Ghijsbrecht Cruick "; 1663, " the Syndics for this year 
were Joannes Vermeer, Arent van Sanen, Gijsbrecht Cruick, 

2 The entry thus translated runs as follows: "Den 5en Apprille 1653: Johannes 
Reyniersz. Vermeer J. M. oft Marctvelt Catharina Bolenes J. D. mede aldaar." 

3 The record, translated as above, stands in the archives thus: " Schilder, den 
29 december 1653, Johannis Vermeer heft hem doen aenteijkenen als meester 
schilder, sijnde burger, en heeft op sijn meester geldt betaelt 1 gul. 10 stuyv. rest 
4 gul 10 st. . . . Den 24 July 1656 in alles betaelt." 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 25 

Anthonij Pallemedes, Frans Janse van der Fijn, Jan Gerritse 
van der Houven "; 1670 "the Syndics were Louijs Elsevier, 
Michael van den Houck, Gijsbrecht Kruyck, Joannes Vermeer, 
Jasper Serrot, Jacob Kerton "; 167 1 " the Syndics were Joannes 
Vermeer, Jasper Serrot, Jacob Corton, Cornells de Man, Cij- 
brant van der Laen, Claes Jansz. Metschert." 

Dutch records of Vermeer's day, subjected to intensive re- 
search by various archivists, have disclosed facts about the 

painter and members of his family which throw light on his 
circumstances and standing in the community. 

On November 30, 1655, for instance, about two years after 
their marriage, Johannis Reyniersz Vermeer, painter, and Cath- 
arina Reyniers Bolnes, his wife, borrowed from Pieter Claesz 
van Ruyven 200 florins at ^Vi per cent, interest. They them- 
selves a fortnight later were obliged to come to the aid of Ver- 
meer's father who had borrowed 250 florins at 5V2 per cent, 
on a note endorsed by Captain Johan van Santen. The money 
lender, not satisfied with his security, on December 14, 1655, 
required the names of the painter and his wife, Catharina Bolnes, 
as additional security. 

Just two years later, on November 30, 1657, Johannes Rey- 
niersz Vermeer, painter, and Catharina Reyniers Bolnes, signed 
a note of 200 florins before the notary J. van Ophoven, " on 
account of money lent." The record indicates that both were 
literate; their signatures are reproduced above. 

Johannes Vermeer, artist painter of Delft, on July 19, 1671, 
appeared and acknowledged payment of an inheritance from 



his sister, Geertruijt Vermeer, one-half of 648 florins which was 
due him from his brother-in-law, Anthony van der Wiell. Be- 
fore Notary G. van Assendelft he signed himself " Joannes ver- 
meer " in large script, as here reproduced, the character of his 
handwriting appearing to have changed in fifteen years. 


On January 14, 1672, Johannes Vermeer leased to Johannes 
van der Meer his house called " Mechelen," — the house where 
he was born and which he presumably inherited from his father 
— on the north side of the marketplace at the southwest corner 
of the Oudemanshuissteeg, for six years, at an annual rental of 
180 florins, as witnessed by F. Boogert at Delft. The former 
signature is clearly that of Vermeer, the painter; the latter 
signature presumably that of one of the several other Jan van 
der Meers who were his contemporaries at Delft. 

Before Notary A. Lock at Amsterdam, on January 25, 1674, 
Hendrick de Schepper, living at Amsterdam, holding an assign- 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 27 

ment of Johannes Vermeer, painter, of Delft (this being a con- 
veyance signed at Amsterdam before Outgers, notary, on July 
21, 1673) explained that he had sold securities, in a transaction 
of which the first item is missing but the second item mentions 
bonds of the united nation of Holland and West Friesland: one 
of 300 florins; one of 500 florins. This notation may reveal that 
at least once Jan Vermeer left Delft to transact business at Am- 
sterdam. Travel in Holland seems to have been easily carried on 
by water transportation. 

Johannes Vermeer, master painter at Delft, having power of 
attorney from his mother-in-law, Maria Tins, widow of Rey- 
nier Bolnes, received on her behalf, March 5, 1675, an inherit- 
ance at Gouda. The document, signed " Marya Thins," and 
witnessed by Pieter Roemer, master glassmaker, shows that the 
beneficiary had complete confidence in Vermeer. It states: " To- 
day, the fifth of March, 1675, appeared before me, Cornells 
Pietersz Bleiswyck, notary public, the honourable madam Maria 
Tins, widow of Mr. Reynier Bollenes, mother and guardian of 
her son Willem Bolenes, and empowered Johannes Vermeer, her 
son-in-law, master painter, to represent her: first in respect of 
the estate of the late Henrick Hensbeeck of Gouda (to act in 
the matter of division of the property and to receive the moneys 
coming to Willem Bolnes) ; and at the same time to receive and 
make payments from the annual income of her son Willem 
Bolnes, therein to administer affairs as a good administrator is 
bound to do; that she who appears is entirely confident of her 
son-in-law." Authorization of this power of attorney preceded 
very shortly Jan Vermeer's death. After the death of Willem 
Bolnes in the following spring a tangle had to be straightened 
out by proper agreement between the respective executors of 
the two estates: Vermeer's and Bolnes's. 

Vermeer in July, 1675, shortly before his death, borrowed 

28 Vermeer 

i ooo florins, as witnessed before Notary J. Hellenis at Amster- 
dam. This debt was assumed on April 2, 1678, by Maria Tins, 
the mother-in-law. 

And now, from the archives of Delft, another record, — 
the last a man can have: 

December 15, 1675 — " Jan Vermeer, artist painter — living 
on the Old Long Dyke — (buried) at the Old Church." A mar- 
ginal note mentions eight minor children, i.e. under 23.* 

The contents of Vermeer's household at the time of his death 
are interestingly revealed by the inventory 5 which was first 
printed in its entirety in Oud-Holland in 1885, in an article by 
Dr. A. Bredius, who was for many years the director of the 
Royal Gallery of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague. 

The house on the Old Long Dyke contained paintings not 

4 This following notation, in old Dutch, is found in the register of " Personen 

die binnen deser Stad Delf overladen ende in de Oude Kerck als oock daer buijten 

begraven sijn tsedert den 19 Julij 167 1 ": 
" 15 December 1675 
"Jan Vermeer, kunstschilder aen de Oude Langedijk in de kerk." ... In the 

margin: " 8 Me. j. kind." 

B In the old Dutch original this inventory reads as follows: 

" In H voorhuys: Een freuytschilderytge, een zeetje, een lantschapie. — Een stuckie 
schildery door Fabritius. 

" In de groote zaal: Een schildery sijnde een boere schuyr. Nog een schildery. — 
Twee schildery-tronijen van Fabritius. — De conterfeytsels van S 1 ". Vermeer 
zal 1 " 8 . vader en moeder. — Een geteekent wapen van den voorn. &". Vermeer, 
met een ebbe lijst. — Meubels, harnas, stormhoed en kleinigheden. — Onder 
linnen en wolle: Een turcxe Mantal van den voorn. S r . Vermeer zal 1 ". — Voorts 
kleederen en huisraad. 

" In de binnenkeuken: Een groote schildery, sijnde Christus aen 't Cruys. — Twee 
Trony schilderyen gedaen by Hooghstraten. — Een schildery daerin allerley 
vrouwentuijch. — Een van Veronica. — 2 Tronyen geschildert op sijn Turcx.) 
— Een Zeetje. — Een waerin een bas met een dootshooft. — 7 ellen goutleer 
aen de muyr. 

" Op de kelderkamer: Een Christus aent Cruys, een vrou met een ketting aen — 
enz. alles zonder naam der schilders. 

" Op de voorkamer: Een rotting met een ivoren knop daerop. — 2 schilderseesels, 
drye paletten, 6 paneelen, 10 schilderdoucken, drye bondels allerhande slach 
van printen, een lessenaer en rommelingh." 



lau 4 .nis at Amster- 

by Maria Tins, 

rr record, — 


>ry 6 which was first 

1885, in an article by 

le director of the 

]an Vervieer of Delft [s, The Hag 

HEAD OF A YOUNG GlR&ed paintiiv. 
Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritsuuis, The Hague 

1 .1 de Oude Kerck als oock da< 

een zeetjc, een lantschapie. — Een srackie 
een boerc schuyr. Noj Idery. — 


kent wap< •». 

harnas, stormhoed en kleinighei 
J van dc 

'•mnenkei* ristus aen 

^eetje. - Een waerin een bas met een dootsho 

Aderkamer: Een O ^en vrou 1 

lies zond er schilders. 

kamer: Eo sn ivoren knop da< 

;hilderdoucken, dxye bo I slach 

n, een lessenaer en rommelingh." [Text on Page 173] 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 29 

only by Vermeer but also by his early associate, and perhaps 
teacher, Carel Fabritius, by Samuel Hoogstraten, and works 
which appear on the wall in several of Vermeer's pictures. 

The inventory shows that in the vestibule of the Vermeer 
home hung a fruit picture, a seascape, a landscape, and a paint- 
ing by Fabritius. 

In the large hall were a farmyard scene, conjectured by Dr. 
Bredius to be perhaps by van der Poel; another painting; the 
likenesses of Vermeer's father and mother; a coat-of-arms with 
an ebony frame; furniture, armour, headpieces and small ob- 
jects; body-linen and woolens; a Turkish textile belonging to 
Vermeer; various pieces of clothing and household objects. 

In the kitchen were a large painting depicting Christ on the 
Cross; two paintings of heads by Hoogstraten; a still life; a 
Veronica; two heads painted with Turkish accessories; a sea- 
scape; a stringed instrument and a bass viol with case; seven 
yards of gilt leather on the wall, presumably such as appears in 
the Love Letter at Amsterdam and the Allegory of the New 
Testament, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The 
" Christus aen 't Cruys " of this section of the inventory is sup- 
posed to be the picture which hangs on the wall in the last- 
named painting. 

In the basement room were listed a Christ on the Cross, a 
woman with a necklace and others, all without the painters' 

In the front room the inventory showed a walking stick 
with ivory head, two painters' easels, six panels, ten canvases, 
three bundles of prints, a desk and pieces of lumber. 

An appended notation refers to other paintings and studio 
furnishings belonging to the estate: a Mars and Apollo; eight 
other pictures; family portraits; one of The Three Kings and 
one of Christ's Mother; eleven other pictures; a stone table with 
glass top. 

30 Vermeer 

The inventory was signed before J. van Veen, notary, at 
Delft, on February 29, 1676, by Catherina Bolnes. 

The probability that the house in which Vermeer died and 
in which the inventory of his possessions was made still stands 
was advanced in a study made by Mr. Eduard Houbolt which 
in March, 1924, was published in the monthly journal of the 
United Oil Companies of the Netherlands. 

Starting from a notation in the inventory which shows the 
house to have stood on the Old Long Dyke at the corner of the 
Moolepoort (" op den hoek van de Molepoort "), Mr. Houbolt 
believes that this must have been the west corner and that this in 
all probability is the house now standing there, though in modi- 
fied form. The present arrangement of the interior, it is ob- 
served by Mr. Houbolt, seems to accord with the one suggested 
in the inventory. The house, numbered 25, is small, with only 
three rooms and a hallway on the ground floor and three on 
the floor above, besides a basement and an attic. Perhaps in 
Vermeer's time there may have been a wing extending into a 
garden which today is no more. At best, with his numerous 
paintings and the other paraphernalia of the artist, — not to men- 
tion his many children — his must have been a crowded house- 
hold. One may surmise that he painted some of his pictures in 
the homes of his patrons. 

Several other entries in the Delft archives concern members 
of Vermeer's family. It may be pertinent to note here that con- 
sistency in the spelling and the use of capitals in the old Dutch 
names is difficult, since these names are so variously written in 
the records. 

The name Vermeer or van der Meer, used more or less inter- 
changeably, was common at Delft. Today, indeed, it is a com- 
mon name in Holland. And it is a matter of curious interest 
to note that Mr. T. H. v. d. Meer, optician, occupies (1936) the 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 31 

house on the next corner beyond that on which Jan Vermeer's 
birthplace once stood, as one walks along the north side of the 
marketplace towards the Town Hall. 

The painter's father, besides the cognomen of " Vos," which 
appears in several signatures, was called van der Meer. A deed 
of August 12, 1 65 1, states that Andries Boogaert, notary, of 
Delft, gives notice that before him (to give him power of at- 
torney) has appeared Reijnier van der Meer, otherwise known 
as Vos, innkeeper, living on the north side of the marketplace, 
" well known to me, the notary." 

The artist son quite certainly preferred the form Vermeer. 
This appears in the signatures on his paintings and elsewhere. 
There is also possible evidence of his preference in a document 
of July 13, 1670, before the notary Frans Boogert, recording a 
division of property, on which the first name recorded was ap- 
parently that of " Johannes van der Meer." It can still be seen 
that this was blotted out, according to the article " Vermeeri- 
ana " by Mr. L. G. N. Bouricius in Oud-Holland, 1925, and 
that in its place was written " Vermeer." It is plausibly conjec- 
tured that either the notary through forgetfulness made a mis- 
take which he himself corrected or that the artist insisted on 
having his name spelled as he liked it. 

It further is not improbable that the artist, even though his 
father was sometimes inscribed " van der Meer," was particular 
to be " Vermeer " in order not to be confused with the several 
other Jan van der Meers who were his contemporaries at Delft. 
The records contain references to a Jan van der Meer, apothe- 
cary, living in 1640 on the Voldersgracht, whom, as we have 
already seen, Sir Philip Skippon and his companions called upon, 
when they visited Delft in 1663; of a Jan Jansz van der Meer, 
dwelling in 1647 in Out Beyerlant; a Jan Cornelisz van der 
Meer, hat maker, whose house in 1 648 was in the Buitenketel- 
poort; a Jan Reyers van der Meer who in 1665 inherited prop- 

32 Vermeer 

erty; a schoolmaster, Johannes van der Meer, mentioned in 

One of the few available references to Reynier Vermeer, the 
painter's father, indicates that he may have been a collector of 
works of art, perhaps his son's pictures as well as those of other 
artists. In the Rijks Museum, Amsterdam, according to Mr. 
E. W. Moes in an article in Oud-Holland, is an album in which 
fifty-six drawings in black chalk have been pasted. These seem 
to be by one hand and to consist of preliminary sketches for 
paintings. Appended to one of the drawings (No. 5) is a frag- 
ment of a list, presumably meant to give information concerning 
the whereabouts of certain pictures. Next to the bottom of the 
list is the name of Reynier Vermeer, and just below his that of 
Leonard Bramer, painter of Delft and one of the Syndics of St. 
Luke's Guild, whom some believe to have been Jan Vermeer's 
first teacher. These drawings are found by Mr. Moes to be in 
the general style of the middle seventeenth century. Some writ- 
ers have thought that Reynier Vermeer was not a person of 
social importance in Delft; this impression might be confirmed 
by the phraseology of the list just mentioned in which all the 
eleven owners of pictures except Vermeer and Bramer have a 
distinguishing title: either " heer," " monsr." or " capitein." 

Concerning this question of the occupations followed by 
Reijnier Jansz. van der Meer, or Vos, these were, apparently, 
those of dealer in objects of art, worker in or on velvet as well as 
inn keeper. This perhaps significant information was also de- 
veloped by Mr. Bouricius in his article in Oud-Holland. 

It also is possible, if not fully established, that shortly before 
the artist's birth the father became a member of the Guild of 
St. Luke, in the Masterbook of which appears an entry trans- 
lated as follows: " On October 13, 163 1, Reijnier Vos, or Reij- 
nier van der Minne, has qualified as a master art dealer, being 
a citizen, paying the full six florins." Mr. Bouricius thinks it 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 33 

likely that this was the painter's father. The name " van der 
Minne " does not look reasonable as it stands. It is said to be so 
written quite clearly in the record book, but there is a possibil- 
ity that the secretary either heard it incorrectly or took it down 
from somebody else's illegible scribble. If, then, this is Reijnier 
van der Meer, a man engaged in buying and selling works of 
art, he would naturally be inclined to rear his son to an artistic 
calling, and the art business with which there is some evidence 
that Vermeer sought to add to his income in his last years may 
have been one which he learned, or inherited, from his father. 

By way of controverting the possibility that Reijnier Vos 
was the same person as Reijnier van der Meer, father of Jan 
Vermeer, the painter or, if so, was not a member of the Guild, 
the fact may be mentioned that our painter, as we have seen, 
paid the full fee for membership, six florins, even though he was 
three and a half years in completing the payments, whereas the 
fee for sons of members was only three florins. The latter rate 
may, however, have come into effect at a later date. 

Reijnier van der Meer's probable connection with a textile 
trade has been discovered from an entry in a volume of the na- 
tional archives collection at The Hague. This records taxable 
houses at Delft from 1 640 to 1 8 1 3 . One house is listed as that of 
" Reijnier Vosch, velvet-worker, now belonging to his son, 
Johannes Vermeer " — presumably that on the Oudemanshuis- 

The date of his father's death, which must have occurred be- 
fore 1670, is unknown, but the following burial notice 6 es- 
tablishes the year and month of his mother's decease, and the 
fact that she lived in the " Street of the Flemings ": " Buried 
in the New Church February 13, 1670, Dyna Baltens, widow 
of Reynier Vermeer in the Vlamingstraet." 

6 "Begraven in de Nieuwe Kerk 13 Februarij 1670 Dyna Baltens, weduwa van 
Reynier Vermeer in de Vlamingstraet." 

34 Vermeer 

It is known, that Catharina Bolnes (or Bolenes), Jan Ver- 
meer's widow, had difficulties in connection with the settle- 
ment of his estate and that she outlived him by more than 
twelve years. 

The burial records 7 of the Old Church show that she was 
buried in the church January 2, 1688; an appended statement 
that she had twelve bearers is believed to indicate that she 
was a person of standing: " 12 Dragers, 5 m. j. k."; 12 bearers, 
and 5 children under age, i.e. below 2 3 years. The house where 
she died has been identified as that which stands next to the north 
beside the office of the Delft Courant, on the Verwersdijk, not 
far from the point at which the Voldersgracht, proceeding 
eastward, changes its name, so to speak, to Vlamingstraat. 

Evidence of the widow's financial difficulties is seen in a 
record which sheds light not only on her circumstances but also 
on the possible identification of two of her husband's paintings. 
Gerard van Assendelft, notary, of Delft, records the fact that, 
on January 27, 1676, "Catharina Bolnes, widow of Johannes 
Vermeer, in his life an artist painter at Delft, appeared before 
me and made known that she had sold and turned over to Hen- 
drick van Buyten, two pictures, painted by the said Vermeer: 
one representing two persons one of whom sits to write a letter; 
the other a person playing on a guitar. And acknowledges to be 
paid therefor the sum of 617 florins, six stuyvers, which she, 
the person appearing, owed the said van Buyten for bread de- 
livered to her, which account, for this value received, is an- 
nulled and written off." 

Of these two paintings, the first is generally believed to be the 
Love Letter of the Beit Collection, and the second either the 
Iveagh or the Johnson Guitar Player, discussion of which will 
be found on pp. 144-52. 

7 " 2 Januari 1688. Catharina Bolnits Wed. van Johan Vermeer aen de Ver- 
wersdijck in de blauwe hant, in de kerck." 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 35 

Jan Vermeer's estate being apparently encumbered with 
debts, " their Worships the Sheriffs of the Town of Delft do 
hereby appoint Anthonij Leeuwenhouck to be Trustee for the 
estate and property of Catharina Bolnes, widow of the late 
Johannes Vermeer (in his lifetime Master Painter) and peti- 
tioner for a writ of insolvency, for what he remained pos- 
sessed of." 

Writing about this appointment in his monumental work, 
" Antony van Leeuwenhoek and ' His Little Animals,' " Dr. 
Clifford Dobell, F.R.S., says: "Obreen [the compiler of the 
Delft archives] has inferred that Leeuwenhoek's appointment 
as administrator of Vermeer's estate was one of the ' pickings ' 
to which he was entitled by virtue of his office as Chamberlain. 
Obreen may be right: but it seems hardly likely that Leeuwen- 
hoek derived any profit from his trusteeship of the affairs of an 
insolvent family, and the extant records (as published) show 
only that he met with worries and legal difficulties in the dis- 
charge of his duty. To me the incident appears rather to indi- 
cate that Leeuwenhoek may have been a personal friend of the 
Vermeers, though it also shows clearly that he himself must 
have held a solid position as a citizen of Delft at that date; since 
it is inconceivable that the Sheriffs could have nominated any- 
body but a respected fellow-townsman to disentangle Ver- 
meer's involved finances. For Vermeer — though soon forgot- 
ten and only recently rediscovered — was then rightly regarded 
as a great artist and ornament of the Town, and his wife ap- 
parently had well-to-do connexions." 

Anthony van Leeuwenhoek has long been called the inven- 
tor of the microscope, although, according to Dr. Dobell, he 
used only the simple lens or magnifying glass. To the public in 
general he has not been known at all as the important figure in 
the history of science that he was. Perhaps it is no exaggera- 
tion to say that not until Mr. Paul de Kruif published his " Mi- 

36 Vermeer 

crobe Hunters " in 1926 and made an erudite subject as popular 
almost as a mystery-thriller did van Leeuwenhoek's name come 
to have a place of its own in public consciousness. Mr. de Kruif 
called him " first of the microbe hunters " and just as in the case 
of that other long unknown man of Delft the searcher for truth 
in science like the searcher for truth in art became at long last 
a figure glowing in the light of fame. 

Vermeer and van Leeuwenhoek were born in the same 
month and the same year, October, 1632, both were born in 
Delft, the names of both appear on the same page of the book 
of baptisms of the New Church in Delft — van Leeuwenhoek's 
the day after Vermeer's, one of the two recorded on that date — 
and they were quite probably friends. 

Van Leeuwenhoek came of a family of basket makers and 
brewers. At first intended for government service he became at 
sixteen apprentice in an Amsterdam draper's shop. At twenty- 
one, at home again in Delft, he set up his own shop as a draper. 
During the next twenty years he married, became a widower 
and married again. He became chamberlain to the Sheriffs of 
Delft at a salary of about 300 florins a year. He resigned his 
post after serving thirty-nine years and his salary was continued 
until his death. With a degree of versatility not too common 
in any age or place he developed an early fondness for grinding 
lenses, improving on what he learned from the best spectacle 
makers, and studying the craft of the goldsmiths and silver- 
smiths to find out how to make mountings for his lenses. Then 
he studied everything he could turn his lenses on until when, 
in the days of Charles II, the British Royal Society came 
into being, he was, at the suggestion of his fellow townsman, 
Reijnier de Graaf, invited to write the Society a letter about his 
discoveries. So he wrote concerning " A Specimen of some Ob- 
servations made by a Microscope contrived by Mr. Leeuwen- 
hoek, concerning Mould upon the Skin, Flesh, etc.; the Sting 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 37 

of a Bee, etc." Finally there came a day when van Leeuwenhoek 
turned his lenses on a drop of rain water and in it saw what he 
described as " wretched beasties." ' This janitor of Delft," 
writes Mr. de Kruif, " had stolen upon and peeped into a fan- 
tastic subvisible world of little things, creatures that had lived, 
had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and 
unknown to all men from the beginning of time. It was this in- 
visible, insignificant, but implacable — and sometimes friendly 
— world that Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of 
all men of all countries. This was Leeuwenhoek's day of days." 
The Royal Society made him a fellow. 

This was only a few years after Vermeer's death, at a time 
when the records show that the painter's friend was busying 
himself not only with his correspondence with his new col- 
leagues and pursuing his studies with the hundreds of lenses he 
continued to grind but also, as we have seen, with the affairs of 
the meagre estate left to the painter's widow to support her 
many children. Most of van Leeuwenhoek's children, by 
both his wives, died early. Only one, a daughter by his second 
wife, grew up; she survived her father, and, never marrying, 
cared for him until he died. Who knows but that his conscien- 
tious care of the little that his friend left in worldly goods may 
have been given with particular affection on his part because of 
his delight in his friend's children? 

Van Leeuwenhoek's studies continued through a long life. 
When Vermeer died, the artist and the scientist were both 
forty-three; the scientist lived nearly fifty years more, dying 
August 28, 1723, at ninety-one. As Mr. de Kruif remarks, " he 
made a hundred amazing discoveries. In the tail of a little fish 
stuck head first into a glass tube he saw for the first time of all 
men the capillary blood vessels through which the blood goes 
from the arteries to the veins — so he completed the Englishman 
Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood. The years 

38 Vermeer 

went by and all Europe knew about him. Peter the Great of 
Russia came in 1698 to pay his respects to him, and the Queen 
of England journeyed to Delft to look at the wonders to be 
seen through the lenses of his microscopes. He exploded count- 
less superstitions for the Royal Society, and aside from Isaac 
Newton and Robert Boyle (founder of the science of chem- 
istry) he was the most famous of their members." Fortunate 
Delft — to produce in half a century such men as Hugo Grotius, 
the Mierevelds, Jan Steen, van Leeuwenhoek and Jan Vermeer, 
in international law, in science, and in art, and to bring into be- 
ing a great industry of the arts which sent Delft ware through 
Europe and down the centuries as a standard for making useful 
things beautifully! 

In addition to making over two of her husband's pictures to 
the baker, van Buyten, in payment of a debt for bread, we find 
that the widow was helped in the discharge of other debts of 
the estate by disposal of another painting, for we learn that on 
February 24, 1676, there appeared before Notary J. Vos, of 
The Hague, Catharina Bolnes, widow of Johan Vermeer, living 
at Delft, and explained that, unable to pay anything that she 
owed, both for herself and in her capacity as householder and 
also as guardian of her children sired by the said Vermeer, her 
husband, she had given over in full and free ownership to her 
mother Maria Pins (sic) , widow of Reynier Bollenes, a piece of 
painting painted by her said husband in which is depicted The 
Painter's Art, together with her right to the revenues, actual 
and expected, from about seven acres of land situated in Out- 
Beyerlant. The picture is commonly believed to be the Painter's 
Studio of the Czernin Collection, Vienna, perhaps No. 3 of the 
1696 sale. 

That all was not serene with the circumstances of this transfer 
would appear from the fact that Maria Thins (Tins), widow 


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Jan Vermeer of Delft 

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d appear from tl that Maria Th $T* ™ p w »7** 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 39 

of Reynier Bolnes, appeared before Notary J. Vos, of The 
Hague, on this same 24th of February, 1676, and stated that 
in accordance with the deed of transfer, " my daughter, Cath- 
arina Bolnes, diminishing not at all what she owes me, both 
for herself and in her capacity as widow and householder and 
as guardian of her children of whom Johannes Vermeer was 
the father, has in full and free ownership given over, assigned 
and conveyed a certain piece of painting, painted by the afore- 
said Vermeer in which is represented The Painter's Art, of 
which deed of transfer and conveyance M. Anthony Leeuwen- 
hoek, as administrator of the estate of the aforesaid Vermeer, 
was given a signed copy. And notwithstanding this, the afore- 
said Leeuwenhoek in his aforesaid capacity proposes by posting 
of printed notices (one of which has been shown to me) to sell 
at public auction on March 15, 1677, at St. Luke's Guildhall 
the aforesaid picture, conveyed to me as is stated above. 

" So shall the notary, heretofore consulted, (Cornelis van 
Oudendijck, of Delft) inform the aforementioned Leeuwen- 
hoek in my name that I will not permit the aforementioned pic- 
ture to be sold by him, since it might mean lessening of what 
is due me, unless he, the seller, shall stipulate that money belong- 
ing to me shall not be kept out or spent in diminution of my 
proceeds." This was granted at The Hague on March 12, 

The notary appends his report on this transaction, as follows: 
" In pursuance of the above charges I, the subscribing notary, 
betook myself to the presence of Antony Leeuwenhoek and 
read before him the said charges, to which he gave reply that 
he had been able to secure possession of the said picture only 
through process and by conveyance from Annetge Stevens and 
that he had had to pay for it the sum of 324 florins, besides the 
cost of the process; that he for his part (notwithstanding these 
charges) was going forward with the sale; and that if the one 

4o Vermeer 

making the charges proved to have sole right to the picture, she 
could plead her case for preference." 

Catharina Bolnes, living, on April 30, 1676, on the Hoogen 
Road, Delft, testified: " Your petitioner is left with eleven liv- 
ing children because her husband during the war with the King 
of France, for now several years past, was able to earn very little 
and often almost nothing, and the art business which he had 
purchased and which he was carrying on had met with very 
great loss under his hands." The petitioner explained that she 
was unable to satisfy all her creditors and asked for the privilege 
of cessation of payments. Whereupon an order for such cessa- 
tion was issued with lettres de commitimus (chancery order ap- 
pointing a court to take care of the affair) . 

Shortly after the issuance of this mandate for a moratorium 
on payments, Hendrick van der Eem, from his title of " Heer 
Mr." presumably prominent, an advocate, of the Hook of Hol- 
land, assumed the guardianship over Vermeer's minor children. 

Van Leeuwenhoek soon after appeared as the widow Ver- 
meer's representative in legal proceedings connected with set- 
tlement of the estate of her late brother, Willem Bolnes, which 
throw some light on the family circumstances. Slightly con- 
densed but with preservation of much of its quaint legal phrase- 
ology, an account of this settlement of a disagreement among 
relatives follows : 

On November 20, 1676, in accordance with verbal instruc- 
tions from the aldermen of the town of Delft, Adriaen van der 
Hoeff and Nicolaes van Assendelft, members of the board, 
met as a special committee with Anthony Hensius as their secre- 
tary, to reach a decision in the case of Pieter de Bie, attorney, 
representing Maria Tins, widow of the late Reinier Bolnes, this 
representation having been authorized on April 28, 1676, in the 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 41 

presence of Hendrik Ter Beecq van Coesveld, notary public, 
and other witnesses, of the one part; and Anthony van Leeu- 
wenhoek, conservator of the estate of Chatharina (sic) Bolnes, 
widow of the late Johannes Vermeer, who is the one and only 
heir of the estate of Willem Bolnes, her deceased brother, as- 
sisted by Floris van der Werf, his attorney, of the other part. 

Before the committee above named Pieter de Bie exhibited 
bills of expenses incurred by Maria Tins on account of her son 
who was confined by illness at the home of Harmanus Taeling, 
Delft, and who died in March, 1676. It appeared that the said 
Willem had property which came to him through the death 
of Hendrik Claesz. Hunsbeecq, a cousin. The gist of a quite in- 
volved agreement was that Maria Tins, taking over both assets 
and liabilities of her son's estate, undertook to pay her daughter, 
through van Leeuwenhoek, the conservator, the sum of 500 
guilders, together with 60 guilders to cover the costs of the trial 
and the examination and checking of accounts. It was likewise 
agreed that all differences between the two parties arising from 
the administration of the estate of Willem Bolnes should end, 
both undertaking to consult the court for settlement of any 
further difficulties, going to one or all of the following com- 
mittee: Christaen van Vliet, Floris van der Werf, Philips de 
Bries and Johan Bogaerd, attorneys of the court, to ask for a de- 
cision which shall be final. An apparently happy outcome of 
this legal tangle appears in the records of the full board, as fol- 
lows: " The aldermen of the town of Delft, having seen and 
examined the above accord and contract, have approved it with 
praise herewith. Acted Nov. 25, 1676." 

Troubles arising from the settlement of Jan Vermeer's estate 
presently brought Catharina, his widow, again before a com- 
mittee of the Delft aldermen, the inquiry concerning especially 
26 paintings belonging to the estate which in February, 1677, 

42 Vermeer 

were at Haarlem in possession of Joh. Columbier (believed to be 
Jan, or Johannes, Coelenbier or Coelembier, painter, of Haar- 
lem) , these works conceivably including some or all of the 2 1 
sold later at Amsterdam, in 1696. The story in outline, as it 
appears in the Kamerboek, is as follows: 

On February 2, 1677, in accordance with a written notice 
from the aldermen of the town of Delft, there appeared before 
Adriaen van der Hoef and Nicolaes van Assendelft, alder- 
men, sitting as judges, and with Hendrik Vockestaert as secre- 
tary, Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, conservator of the estate of 
the late Johannes Vermeer, master painter, as claimant, as- 
sisted by Floris van der Werf, his counsel, of the one part; and 
Jannetge Stevens, defendant, assisted by Steven van der Werf, 
master mason, her cousin, and Philips de Bries, her attorney, 
of the other part. These parties through intercession of the com- 
missioners and upon approval of the board of aldermen, con- 
tracted and agreed that the claimant above named would pay 
to the defendant the sum of 342 guilders as a complete payment 
of the 442 guilders which the defendant still had to receive from 
the estate of Jan Vermeer (of which the defendant might at 
any time be required to take oath as to its correctness) ; in re- 
turn for which the defendant promised to turn over to the 
claimant at her earliest convenience the said 26 paintings be- 
longing to the estate and at the moment in the custody of 
Johannes Columbier, living at Haarlem; this transfer to be made 
on condition that the defendant promise that the said paintings 
will at any time net at public auction for the benefit of the 
estate the sum of 500 guilders, for which amount the said Steven 
van der Werven would go bond. This understanding was con- 
firmed by the full board as follows: 8 

8 The actual wording in the Dutch language of the resolution confirming 
the widow's right to recover 26 of Jan Vermeer's paintings is as follows: 

" Op huyden den 5 febr: 1677 ter Camere van Haer Agtb. de Heeren Schepenen 
der Stad Delft van den inhoudevan het bovenstaende verbael berigt ende com- 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 43 

"Today, the 5th of February, 1677, in the room of the 
board of aldermen of the town of Delft, having been informed 
of the above report and communication, it has been approved by 
the honourable board as it is recorded herewith. 

" Passed on the day and year as above." 

On February 1, 1678, at Delft, before the honourable Mr. 
Schepenen, Anthony Leeuwenhoek, administrator of the in- 
solvent goods and chattels of Catharina Bolnes, widow and 
housekeeper of the late Johannes Vermeer, in his life a painter 
in this city, declared that he empowered Nicolaes Straffintvelt, 
notary at Gouda, in his name to make lawful transfer of a third 
part of a house and land with bleaching field behind it in the 
Peper-street at Gouda as well as a third part of four and one-half 
acres of land lving in Wilnis below Gouda, accruing to the said 
Catharina Bolnes by bequest from the estate of the late Jan 
Bolnes, her uncle. 

On November 19, 1682, Mr. Hendrick van der Eem, 
guardian of the children of Catharina Bolnes, widow of Jan van 
der Meer, of Delft, authorized Anthony van Leeuwenhoek in 
his capacity as administrator to sell two redeemable rentals at 
Gouda: one of 48 florins per year, redeemable with 1 200 florins; 
one of eight florins, redeemable with 2 1 o florins. 

In very long wills — September 25, 1676, and January 24, 
1680 — Maria Tins refers, as living at The Hague at the house 
of Mme. Aleidis Magdalena and Cornelia Clementia van Rosen- 
dael in Ida Street, to " heiresses," the children of the late Jo- 
hannes Vermeer and her daughter, Catharina Bolnes. " These 
shall have 1 /6th part," but under conditions that are deciphered 

municatie, gedaen wesende is het selvige in het regard van Haer Agtb. geapprobeert 
sooals hetselvige geapprobeert wert bij desen. 
" Actum ten dage en Jare als boven." 

44 Vermeer 

with difficulty as the text has several lacunae. Pieter de Bie, at- 
torney, at The Hague, was executor. 

Several documents witnessed before two notaries at The 
Hague, H. T. van Coesfelt and J. Boogert, concern the settle- 
ment of Jan Vermeer's estate. They confirm the belief that 
Maria Tins (often spelled Thins), Vermeer's mother-in-law, 
was a woman of means. They also may indicate that the neces- 
sity existed of refuting an allegation to the effect that not 
everything was open and aboveboard in the disposition of the 
affairs of this insolvent estate. Thus on December n, 1676, 
Maria Tins made an express declaration to the effect that no 
one of the possessions of her daughter or her son-in-law, 
Johannes Vermeer, had been sequestered in fraudem credi- 
torum. Two years later, on November 28, 1678, she empow- 
ered Boogert as attorney to protect her interests as a preferred 
plaintiff (Eyscheresse van preferentie) against the other cred- 
itors of the late Johannes Vermeer. 

The painter's mother-in-law possessed about 40 acres of land 
below Out-Beyerlant which yielded 486 florins a year. On Janu- 
ary 24, 1680, she agreed to encumber it with a mortgage. The 
executors of her will shall be required to care for her daughter, 
Catharina Bolnes, in case she herself cannot supply her with 
sufficient means of living. They shall pay her the money at their 
discretion by the month or quarterly. 

It appears certain that Vermeer's wife's mother continued to 
help. Johannes Vermeer, the oldest son, continued to be a stu- 
dent, notwithstanding all his mother's troubles. She had to bor- 
row on his account on July 16, 1681, from Pieter van Bleeck 
400 florins, and on July 28, only a few days later, 400 florins 
from Franc, ois Smagge at five per cent, and 4% per cent., re- 

In 1 705 Maria Tins, the mother and grandmother, of many 

What is known about Jan Vermeer of Delft 45 

responsibilities, died. She must have been a very old woman. 
It is of record that after her death " Heer and Mr." Pieter de 
Bie, attorney, of the Hook of Holland, in behalf of the children 
of the late Johannes Vermeer, heirs of the late Juff rouw Maria 
Thins (sic), their grandmother, authorized a notary at Schoon- 
hoven to lease six acres of land at that place. 

That Jan Vermeer's wife came of a family of means is further 
evidenced by entries in the Delft archives of dates long after 
her death. These concern the request of children and grand- 
children of Vermeer, the painter, to be relieved of restrictions 
upon the sale of a house and land inherited by them at " Bon- 
repas," an old bailiwick of the Count of Chatillon near Vlist. 
It is revealed that Jan Vermeer, junior, who was a minor at 
his mother's death in 1688, disappeared from Delft and was 
not heard from for at least thirty years and that his son, also 
Jan Vermeer, in 1720 was living at Leyden, aged thirty-two. 
The names of another of the artist's sons and of five grand- 
children appear in the documentation summarized as follows: 
" 27th of Feb. 1706 
' The gentlemen of the court of the town of Delft, having 
seen and recorded the petition presented to them by Johann 
Kramer and all the children and grandchildren of the late Jan 
Vermeer and Catharina Bolnes requesting that some one be 
authorized and qualified to represent Jan Vermeer junior, aged 
18 or 19, because of the absence of his father and to request 
from your honours, together with the other suppliants, relief 
from fidicomis of a certain dwelling, 9V2 morgen (acres), situ- 
ated in bon repos; and that after this relief has been obtained 
they may be permitted to sell the dwelling and the land, having 
authorized and qualified the said Johann Kramer just as the 
same is authorized and qualified herewith to represent the said 
Jan Vermeer, junior, in the absence of the latter's father, and 

46 Vermeer 

also in the name of the petitioners to request relief from fidi- 
comis of the said dwelling and lands and after that sell them and 
from the money so accruing to pay the debts of this estate. 
Passed on the 27 Feb 1706." 

Further points concerning the history of the ownership of 
this property by members of the Vermeer family were discov- 
ered by the late Mr. P. A. Leupe, clerk in the archives office at 
The Hague, who made a search among the loan registers of the 
Reportorium. It was discovered that Catharina Bolnes (Ver- 
meer's wife) on April 11, 1661, became the owner of " half a 
farm and land," as stated above. On May 2, 1689, Johannes van 
der Meer, living at Delft, upon the death of his mother and not 
being of age, took oath to such effect before a notary named 
Colevelt at The Hague. On June 25, 1720, the land was trans- 
ferred to J. Vermeer, aged thirty-two and living at Leyden, 
since his father, absent in foreign parts and not heard from for 
about thirty years, was presumably dead. On June 19, 172 1, the 
property was transferred to Aart Coorvaar, aged sixty years, 
living near Bon-repas, 9 at the request of said Vermeer's children. 

From the loan register Mr. Leupe also ascertained the names 
of several of the Vermeer heirs. On December 12, 1 7 1 3, a paper 
was sworn to before a notary and witnesses at The Hague au- 
thorizing Otto van Hessel, silversmith, of The Hague to sell the 
farm formerly owned by Catharina Bolnes, but apparently no 
sale was effected. The document is interesting because it is 
signed as by children and grandchildren — heirs of Jan Vermeer 
and Catharina Bolnes, married and during their lives living at 
Delft, viz.: Ignatius Vermeer and Elisabeth Catharina Hispe- 
rius; grandchildren, Maria Vermeer, Aleydis Vermeer, Geer- 
truy Vermeer, Johanna Vermeer, Catharina Vermeer. 

9 Apparently Boerepas, near Schoonhoven; shown on a map of 1667 to be in 
the province of Utrecht, on the east side of the river Vlist near its junction with 
the river Lek, about twenty miles east of Delft and about sixteen miles south- 
west of Utrecht. 

IV • %Jermeer, Forgotten and ^discovered 


that Jan Vermeer, master painter of Delft, was an important and 
conspicuous citizen. Arnold Bon, a Delft publisher of the day, 
wrote a poem on the death of the painter Carel Fabritius, killed 
in the Delft explosion of 1654, in which he spoke of Fabritius as 
a " phoenix " that appeared again in Vermeer: 

" Soo doov' dan desen Phenix t'onser schade 
In't midden, en in't beste van zyn swier, 
Maar weer gelukkig rees'er uyt zyn vier 
Vermeer, die meesterlyck betrad zyn pade." 

This may be freely translated as follows: 

" So departed this Phoenix to our sorrow in the midst and 
in the best of his career but luckily rose out of his work our 
Vermeer who in masterly fashion treads his path." 

Balthasar de Monconys, a French gentleman of means and a 
connoisseur, visiting Delft, entered Vermeer's studio August 
1 1, 1663, as he related in his " Journal des Voyages," which he 
published in 1676. He wrote: " At Delphes I saw the painter 
Vermer (sic), who had no single one of his works — but we 
saw one at the home of a baker who had paid six hundred livres 
for it, although it had only one figure." The same patron spoke 
of also visiting Gerard Dou, Frans van Mieris, Pieter van Slinge- 
landt and others. 

Dirk van Bleiswijck, secretary to the Delft magistrates, wrote 
a thousand-page book about the glories of Delft, entitled 
11 Beschrijving der Stad Delft," published at Delft by Arnold 
Bon in 1667, and in it he mentioned Vermeer. 

48 Vermeer 

Still other evidence of Vermeer's popularity and high stand- 
ing among his contemporaries conceivably exists; and it remains 
one of the surprising circumstances of the annals of the fine 
arts that during the eighteenth century and until his " redis- 
covery " in the middle of the nineteenth century, Vermeer was 
nearly forgotten. 

It is strange, indeed, that a painter esteemed and honoured 
by his fellow citizens, who sold his pictures readily and who was 
visited by a travelling foreigner, was not long remembered by 
his fellow countrymen, but was in fact practically forgotten 
within fifty years after his death. One plausible explanation is 
that Arnold Houbraken, the gossiping Vasari of Holland, 
omitted Vermeer's name from his history of the Netherland 
painters (" De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlandsche Konst- 
schilders," Amsterdam, 17 19). He mentioned many daubers of 
the most mediocre talent, but for some obscure reason he ig- 
nored Vermeer, even though he seemingly should have known 
about the 1696 sale of the painter's works at Amsterdam and 
other Netherland sales of the early eighteenth century, some of 
which are known to have included works by Vermeer of Delft. 
By this oversight or intentional omission the Hall of Fame was 
for a long time closed to the master of Delft. 

A possibility, however, that Houbraken really did mention 
Jan Vermeer of Delft, when he spoke of Vermeer of Utrecht, 
has been ingeniously set forth by Mr. Jean Decoen (Burlington 
Magazine, September, 1935). According to this hypothesis 
Vermeer was of both Utrecht and Delft. Mr. Decoen regards 
it as significant that " not a single picture of the so-called Ver- 
meer of Utrecht is known to exist, and that, however far back 
we go, we find no mention of his name in the catalogues." 
Houbraken says of his " Johann van der Meer " of Utrecht: 
" He went to Rome in the company of Lievens Verchuuren. 

Vermeer, Forgotten and Rediscovered 49 

He stayed there more than a year and perfected himself in his 
art. He painted pictures and life-size figures in the best style. At 
Rome he met Drost, Carel Lot . . . etc." It is Mr. Decoen's the- 
ory that as a young boy Vermeer learned the rudiments of his art 
in Italy, that on his return to the Netherlands he settled at first 
at Utrecht and then made his way to Delft where he worked 
from 1653 onward. It might be added to Mr. Decoen's exegesis 
of possibilities that the Diana of the Mauritshuis, now attributed 
to Vermeer of Delft, was formerly assigned to " Vermeer of 
Utrecht." Of it, writing in 1908, David C. Preyer says (in 
" The Art of the Netherland Galleries "): " A rare picture by 
Jan Vermeer van Utrecht represents Diana at the Bath, which, 
if we could leave out some Italian characteristics, might be called 
an early Vermeer van Delft." 

Subsequent writers on art, after the manner of their kind, 
industriously copied Houbraken. The discursive Jakob Campo 
Weijerman, prolix to boredom concerning nonentities, in his 
four-volume " Lives of the Dutch Painters," is silent about 
Vermeer the Magical, as Mr. Lucas has aptly called him. Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, in his notes of a journey to Flanders and 
Holland, writes of seeing " in the Cabinet of Mr. Le Brun a 
Woman pouring milk from one vessel to another " by D (sic) 
Vandermeere. He apparently was not profoundly impressed, 
for he went on to say that " the most considerable of the Dutch 
school are Rembrandt, Teniers, Jan Steen, Ostade, Brouwer, 
Gerard Dou, Mieris and Terborch. These excel in small con- 

In the famous nine-volume " Catalogue Raisonne of the 
works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Paint- 
ers," written and published by John Smith in London in 1833, 
twenty-five pages are devoted to the life and works of " Peter De 
Hooge." There follows one page, headed " Scholars and Imi- 

50 Vermeer 

tators of Peter De Hooge," and containing three short para- 
graphs on " Samuel Van Hoogstracten (sic), Joust, or Justus, 
Van Geel and Vander Meer, of Delf ." The author, as we have 
seen, says of the last-named: " This painter is so little known, 
by reason of the scarcity of his works, that it is quite inexplica- 
ble how he attained the excellence many of them exhibit. Much 
of the effect and style of De Hooge is evident in all his pictures, 
but there are some few which approach that master so nearly, 
as to create a belief that he studied under him: these pictures 
generally represent the exterior views of houses. One of his best 
performances, representing the town of Delf, at sunset, is in the 
Musee at The Hague. This picture sold in a public sale, about 
ten years ago, for 5000 flo." Modern scholarship, as exemplified 
by Dr. W. R. Valentiner and Dr. de Groot, practically reverses 
the relative standing of de Hooch and Vermeer, and holds that 
it was the latter who influenced the former. 

Years passed and for a century and a half Vermeer was all 
but forgotten. It is true that during the eighteenth and early 
nineteenth centuries a few works by Vermeer had been well 
known and, as in the case of Sir Joshua's reference to the Milk- 
woman, had been properly attributed. Yet there had been con- 
fusion between Vermeer of Delft and the two van der Meers 
of Haarlem. Still other pictures, now accepted as by Vermeer, 
were attributed to other painters. Then came his rediscovery 
and recognition and when Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot in 1907 
published the first volume of his monumental revision of that 
portion of Smith's " Catalogue " which deals with the Dutch 
painters, he devoted one hundred pages to 42 1 pictures by de 
Hooch and twenty-nine pages to 84 pictures which he accepted 
as by Vermeer or recorded as having been attributed to him. 
This clearly indicates the growth in the realization of Ver- 
meer's importance during the nineteenth century. Kugler's 


V E R M E E R 

Phitc 6 : p eter De Hooge," and containing rhree short p 

1 Van Hoogstracten ( >ust, or Justus, 

nd Vander Meer, of Delf." T ve have 

uned: " This pair wn, 

asonofth 'i ca_ 



fan Vermeer of Delft reverses 



. rmeer, 


s, he 
and 1 1 

[Text on Page 175] 

Vermeer, Forgotten and Rediscovered 51 

" Handbook of Painting," 1854, had not mentioned Jan Ver- 
meer of Delft anywhere in its two volumes, though it gave four 
lines to " John van der Meer the Younger," of Haarlem. 
Twenty-five years later J. A. Crowe's revision of Kugler de- 
voted more than two pages to Vermeer of Delft. 

How did this great transformation of interest in Vermeer of 
Delft come about? 

To the French writer, Theophile Thore, who wrote usually 
under the signature of " W. Burger," and who is throughout 
the chapters to follow generally styled M. Thore, belongs the 
chief credit of having rescued from oblivion the name and fame 
of Jan Vermeer of Delft. His research, begun in Holland and 
continued there and elsewhere, took Vermeer out of the list of 
the little known Netherland painters and gave him recognition 
as one of the major artists of the world. 

M. Thore was a man of means who as a consequence of 
political activities in 1848 was exiled from France. His long 
expatriation gave him a motive for spending much time in a 
study of European collections of paintings. At the Hague 
museum he was impressed by the View of Delft, then as now 
attributed to Jan Vermeer. This seemed to him a very remark- 
able work, and he began to look for other paintings which 
might be by this mysterious artist whom he called " the Sphinx 
of Delft." 

M. Thore's attention was soon directed to the Milkivoman 
and the Little Street in Delft, pictures in the " cabinet," as Sir 
Joshua Reynolds would have called it, of Mynheer Six van 
Hillegom, in Amsterdam. The next two Vermeers to be dis- 
covered were the Portrait of a Girl in the Arenberg Collection 
and a certain Cottage in the cabinet of M. Suermondt, at Aix-la- 
Chapelle — the latter not now considered to be by Vermeer, 
though M. Thore thought it " delicious." 

52 Vermeer 

Having the collaboration of several gentlemen of artistic 
tastes, among them Sir Charles Eastlake, President of the Royal 
Academy of Great Britain, and with scanty information from 
the Netherland archives to supplement his own acumen, M. 
Thore was able to discover, or rediscover, a considerable num- 
ber of " Vermeers." His enthusiasm, indeed, led him to attribute 
to his Delft Sphinx as many as seventy-two paintings, whereas 
a later and cooler criticism has accepted even today consider- 
ably fewer than fifty of these. The errors in attribution, inci- 
dentally, which M. Thore made were chiefly in respect of 
landscapes, and it is still difficult to say positively that a land- 
scape of Delft or its environs is not by Vermeer, since his mode 
of composition and colour in landscape arrangements is less 
strikingly characteristic than is that of his interiors with figures. 

While M. Thore devoted several years to a fascinating hunt 
for paintings by Vermeer, he also tried to discover in the Delft 
archives details of his painter's life. The resident librarian an- 
nounced that he could find there nothing of any pertinence, and 
the amiable critic took him at his word. In the eighteen-seven- 
ties, however, M. Henry Havard and his collaborator, M. 
Obreen, succeeded in making personal search among the ar- 
chives, which happen to be well kept and clear, and they were 
able to copy notations. In the civic archives at Delft, the Bur- 
gerlijke Stand, the investigators found about 175,000 entries 
between the years 1575 and 1808. 

In 1858 M. Thore brought out his book on the museums of 
Holland in which he listed twelve Vermeers. He continued to 
explore other galleries, as at Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, 
Cologne, Brunswick. He bought several Vermeer paintings, and 
he persuaded his friends to buy others. A treasure of his collec- 
tion was the Young Lady with the Pearl Necklace, later ac- 
quired by the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin. He owned the 

Vermeer, Forgotten and Rediscovered 53 

Young Lady at the Virginals, of the National Gallery, London; 
the Young Lady at a Spinet, now in the same gallery, and the 
admirable Vermeer of Fenway Court, Boston. Among the 
paintings which he acquired was An Old Woman vnth a Reel. 
This had been offered to the National Gallery for £157. 10 s., 
but was not bought. Learning of the existence of this work M. 
Thore purchased it but resold it to an English art dealer and it 
has not since reappeared. 

The Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1 866 published three 
long, illustrated articles on Vermeer by M. Thore. This publica- 
tion really initiated the present-day vogue of Vermeer of Delft. 
Since then, as Rinder wrote in his sketch of Vermeer, Bryan's 
Dictionary of Fainters and Engravers, " his repute has steadily 
increased till now he is accorded a prominent, perhaps a fore- 
most, place among the Little Masters of Holland. For long there 
has been no need, as was once the practice, to substitute for his 
name that of Pieter de Hooch in order to effect a sale at a high 
price." That Vermeer, by reason of his human appeal, the pe- 
culiar loveliness of his colours and his portrayal of light no less 
than his technical merits, is entitled to rank as a Great, not a 
Little, Master of Art is a thesis of the present volume which 
perhaps can be sustained as his paintings are studied critically. 

V ' His Cjenius and His ^Methods 



taught to paint by the method under which practically all 
young painters of Holland between, say, 1620 and 1700, 
learned their metier. The student then drew much from " the 
flat " — usually from a drawing or an engraving. Such copying 
is out of fashion nowadays, but much can be said in its favour, 
especially if the designs to be copied are well chosen. The 
student learns to work for correct proportions and a simple 
way of suggesting the appearance of things before he is con- 
fronted by the overpowering complexity of nature. 

Use of casts was common in the painters' workshops. It is re- 
corded that among many other casts kept for instruction of his 
students, Rembrandt had in his studio twenty or more hands, 
cast from nature. The young artist was often required to 
" draw limbs in plaster the size of life and also larger." There 
is a painting by Metsu which represents a lady in the act of 
drawing from a cast. 

The ecorche, or anatomy figure with exposed muscles, was 
carefully studied — as indeed it should be more frequently in 
the art schools of today. Anatomy from the cadaver was per- 
haps pursued with some difficulty in those days, though it is 
recorded that Aart Mytens, an artist of sorts, cut down a 
gallows bird and carried him home in a sack, to dissect him. 
Perspective was studied with enthusiasm, chiefly from Albrecht 
Durer's treatise, though compendiums had been written by 
other and later men. 

His Genius and His Methods 55 

There exist two informing pictures by Michael Sweerts in 
one of which students are drawing from the cast, in the other 
working from the life. The latter, except for the antique cos- 
tumes and surroundings, looks very much like a modern life 
class. While the Hollanders seldom displayed the nude in art, 
they appreciated the value of studying it as part of the draughts- 
man's training. Sweerts's picture of work in a Dutch life room 
differs from the aspect of an art school of today chiefly as re- 
gards the age of the students. These he depicted as boys of fifteen 
or sixteen years. Artists of old began their careers early, and 
their apprenticeship followed a definite form, presumably an 
inheritance from regulations common to the mediaeval guilds. 
The apprentice was bound to a master for at least two years, 
his parents or guardians paying a stated sum for instruction. It is 
known that Rembrandt, Gerard Dou, and Honthorst had each 
100 florins a year for a pupil. Ferdinand van Apshoven, a lesser 
man, received less than fifty florins. The painter in return 
supplied the student with food and lodging as well as instruc- 
tion. In Rembrandt's house each student had his own room. 
Students of other masters may not have been so fortunate. An 
amusing detail in contracts for apprenticeship was that the stu- 
dent's father often obligated himself to bring to the master a 
yearly present of a barrel of herring. 

The student made copies, as required, from the master's work, 
and often painted accessories in his pictures. It is known that 
in Michael Miereveld's studio at Delft the students executed 
many copies of his works which he signed as by himself, this 
practice evidently not then being considered dishonourable. In 
some studios the student was allowed to paint one picture a year 
which he might sign with his own name. 

The instruction in painting included as a requirement that 
the apprentice should learn to grind his colours, clean and set 

$6 Vermeer 

palettes, and stretch canvases. Stress was laid upon familiarity 
with these mechanical details of the craft. In 1643 a fine arts 
dealer, Volmarijn by name, opened in Leyden a shop for the 
sale of " prepared and unprepared colours, panels, canvas and 
painting utensils of all kinds." Despite the establishment of such 
shops, however, the Netherland painters for the most part con- 
tinued to grind their own colours down into the nineteenth 
century. The stone table for mixing pigments was an accessory 
of the studios, and the inventory of Vermeer's effects shows 
that he had such a table. 

After he had learned properly to prepare his materials, the 
student was permitted to copy a picture, usually one by the 
master himself. Such practice tended to make the apprentice 
paint very much as did the head of the shop; and if he could do 
this he was considered a good student. In all studios, the student 
learned to work neatly, for great case was made of a spotlessly 
clean palette and of not letting work get dusty, the artist usually 
hanging a cloth over a painting when not at work on it. Instead 
of the godets or oil cups now used, the painter kept a cup or 
bowl of his " medium " close at hand, dipping into it as he saw 
fit. His easel was more primitive than one of present manufac- 
ture. The upright easel, indeed, appears not to have been de- 
vised. On an easel of three legs the paintings were tilted at an 
angle. The brushes, palette, knife and mahlstick followed very 
much the style of today. 

Artists then as now collected attractive materials which could 
be used as studio accessories. In the inventory of Vermeer's 
effects, as already noted, mention is made of seven ells of gold 
leather hanging, a landscape, a sea piece and a large picture of 
the Crucifixion. These possessions are identified in one or an- 
other of his works. 

It is hardly necessary to say, as Dr. W. Martin, of the Mau- 

His Genius and His Methods 57 

ritshuis at The Hague, points out in his " Life of a Dutch 
Artist," that then as now a painter could send his paintings to 
dealers " on commission." It is known, for instance, that either 
Vermeer or his widow sent twenty-six pictures to the artist 
and art dealer Coelenbier at Haarlem, presumably for sale; and 
that the painter Palamedes, who was closely associated with 
Vermeer in the board of government of the Guild, sent his 
pictures to dealers at Haarlem, Leyden, Rotterdam, and so on. 
The prices of paintings were not generally very high. For his 
Night Watch, for instance, Rembrandt received only 1600 

Working in such an environment, Vermeer developed a tech- 
nique which is to some extent a revelation of his personality, 
even though little is known of actual incidents of his life. It 
may still be somewhat disputed who his master was or from 
whom, if from any one, he learned his own special methods of 

Reasons for his belief that Carel Fabritius could have been, 
and probably was, Jan Vermeer's master are set forth in a 
closely documented article on " Carel and Barent Fabritius " by 
Dr. W. R. Valentiner in The Art Bulletin of the College 
Art Association, September, 1932. Much information that con- 
cerns these painter brothers has been amassed through the re- 
searches of H. F. Wijnman, published in Oud-Holland, 193 1, 
and other investigators; and some of the data thus established 
may have a bearing upon Vermeer's apprenticeship. 

It had been assumed that Carel Fabritius was too young to 
have been Vermeer's master. Research, however, has placed his 
birth as of " about the 25th of February, 1622." He was thus 
Vermeer's senior by about ten years. He had been in Rem- 
brandt's studio where, it is interesting to note, he had as his 
fellow student Samuel van Hoogstraten who mentions Carel 

58 Vermeer 

Fabritius as a student with him in his " Inleyding tot de hooge 
school der Schilderconst," printed at Rotterdam in 1678. Paint- 
ings by van Hoogstraten were recorded as among Vermeer's 

Born Carel Pietersz, and taking the name of Fabritius because 
he at first followed the craft of carpentry, Carel Fabritius came 
to Delft in 1650. The surname Fabritius had in the meantime 
come to be applied to the painter's whole family. In 1652 he 
painted The Dealer in Musical Instruments, now in the National 
Gallery, London, in the middle distance of which is recognized 
the Nieuwe Kerk of Delft. Evidently in debt he did not join the 
Guild of St. Luke until October 29, 1652, paying at first only 
half of the entrance fee of twelve gulden, for a " foreigner," 
i.e., one not a Delft citizen. The record of his admission, with 
both his names spelled unusually, is as follows: " Schilder Kaerel 
Frabicijus heeft hem als meester Schilder doen aentekenen 
opden 29 October 1652 ende alsoo hij vreempt is moet betalen 
twaelf gulden ende heeft betaelt ses gulden, rest 6 gul." It is 
known that he took pupils, for Matthias Spors, called his pupil, 
lost his life with his master in the powder magazine explosion 
of 1654. 

If Vermeer also was a pupil of Carel Fabritius his period of 
study with him was brief, as Dr. Valentiner indicates in the 
following passage: 

" There has been a controversy over whether this poetical 
outburst [Arnold Bon's elegy] is to be actually understood as 
implying that Vermeer had been Fabritius's pupil. It is probable 
that it is, for shortly after Carel's death, when the poem was 
written, the fame of the young Vermeer was hardly so secured 
that from among other Delft artists he alone should have come 
into question as having the right to the title of the young 
phoenix who would rise from the ashes, had not the school 

His Genius and His Methods 59 

relation to Fabritius been the occasion of the poet's effort. Be- 
sides this, the fact that among the few pictures which Vermeer 
possessed at his death, there were three works by Carel Fabri- 
tius, is evidence of the close relation of the two artists. The 
stylistic comparison of the early works of Vermeer with Fabri- 

Decorated Blue and White Plate, Depicting 
the Great Delft Explosion of 1654 

tius's paintings by no means contradicts this. As Vermeer be- 
came a free master on December 29, 1653, he can only have 
been a pupil of Fabritius in the interval between this date and 
October of the preceding year, when Fabritius became a mem- 
ber of the Lucas Guild." 

It seems doubtful if Vermeer was ever considerably influ- 
enced by this pupil of Rembrandt. Fabritius's technique is 
scrappy and casual, while Vermeer's is, in all his works, thought- 
ful and well considered. As regards composition, Vermeer could 
have learned things from his contemporary, for Fabritius's ar- 

60 Vermeer 

rangements are quite original. His Goldfinch, (Plate 52) in 
the Royal Gallery of Paintings, in the Mauritshuis, The Hague, 
is an example of this originality. His mode of composing, fur- 
thermore, was developed from that of his master, Rembrandt, 
and hence of certain Italian masters, while a composition by 
Vermeer is reminiscent of no one else, unless possibly it be of 
the Japanese. The argument from internal evidence disproves 
the theory of Fabritius's having been in any really dominating 
sense Vermeer's master. In the case of a painter as original as 
Velazquez it still is easy to trace the marked influence, first of 
Herrera, then of Pacheco, and later of El Greco. But no such 
obvious derivations can be observed in Vermeer's work. He and 
Fabritius were both of Delft. They must have known each 
other. Yet, about all that one can say of them and their probable 
relationship is that both were extremely original men, but in 
very different ways. 

Since museum catalogues and other compilations call Fabri- 
tius Vermeer's master, it is informing to quote Mr. R. H. 
Wilenski on this point: " He (Carel Fabritius) had a natural 
conception of the classical defined picture-space which was 
overruled for a time by his association with Rembrandt and re- 
asserted itself in his later years; and this classical cast of Carel's 
mind is of special significance since Vermeer, who was destined 
to become a supreme classical master, was doubtless his pupil at 
some time. He had, moreover, an urge towards bold experi- 
ments in classical-architectural composition, and it is, I fancy, 
not without significance that he concerned himself with optics 
and may have experimented in the use of mirrors in composing 
or painting his most original works." This topic of the likeli- 
hood that Vermeer and several of his contemporaries used mir- 
rors in the studio is interestingly discussed by Mr. Wilenski in 
his "Introduction to Dutch Art," pages 280-290, to whose 

His Genius and His Methods 6i 

conjectures concerning the manner of painting the Studio and 
other pictures the reader may be referred. 

It has been suggested that a short period of study with Fabri- 
tius may have followed an apprenticeship with another master, 


Decorated Blue and White Plate, Depicting 

the Hague Gate at Delft, at the Northern 

Edge of the City 

conceivably Leonard Bramer, from whom Vermeer could have 
learned the technical processes of the painter's art. 

This is not altogether improbable. Leonard (or Leonaert) 
Bramer (1614-c. 1667), painter, of Delft, has been conjectured 
to have been a brother of Pieter Bramer (or Brammer) whose 
name appears in Jan Vermeer's baptismal record. This, so far 
as known, is only a supposition. The Bramers named could 
have been cousins, or uncle and nephew, or quite unrelated. 
Bramer, nevertheless, was an uncommon name in Delft records, 
and it happens that Leonard Bramer's technique and idiosyn- 

61 Vermeer 

crasies were of a sort to have fitted him to be what he possibly 
was — a master of Vermeer. He had travelled much in Italy, 
and while there he had become acquainted with Adam Els- 
heimer, by whom he was influenced. On returning to Holland 
he became one of Rembrandt's friends, but even before such 
friendship began he was known as a passionate searcher into 
the laws of light and shade — of chiaroscuro, as the writers of 
an older day liked to call it. Bramer was not an artist of the 
first rank, but his paintings, bathed in light and air, held figures 
of a real distinction. He surely would have been competent to 
teach a promising student the elements of his art, and particu- 
larly of the chiaroscuro which became so vital an element 
in Vermeer's painting. It is interesting that Bramer was a mem- 
ber of the board of the Guild of St. Luke in 1654, the year fol- 
lowing Vermeer's admission; that he was its chairman in 1655; 
a member again in 1661 and 1663; and chairman again in 1665. 
He was a member of the Guild beginning April 30, 1629, when 
he was admitted as a master painter, paying in full the Delft 
citizen's fee of six florins. 

VI ' Characteristics of ^Uermeers Technique 

Vermeer's very great quali- 
ties were precisely those which cannot have been taught him 
by an instructor. He must have developed them by and for 
himself. He had, of course, been grounded in some studio in the 
precise methods of the day. His knowledge of light and shade 
should have been derived from some one's teaching. His works 
were laid in strongly and solidly, as others laid theirs in. Yet 
throughout his career Jan Vermeer evinced a sensitiveness to 
chiaroscuro far more acute than that possessed by any other 
artist of the Netherlands. His intuition regarding colour was 
quite his own. No other painter of his time had such apprecia- 
tion of the beauty of cool tones. He erred, indeed, if it ever was 
an error, in the direction of a coolness sometimes overbalancing 
his warmer tones; whereas the other Lowlanders generally made 
the mistake of making their work too hot — of emphasizing 
red, yellow, and brown tones at the expense of the blues, greens, 
and cool grays. 

While creating for himself an original technique, Vermeer, 
naturally, varied his manner of painting as he grew older and 
became more and more skilful in building a subtle colour to- 
nality over a monochrome underpainting. The Courtesan or 
Procuress, apparently the earliest of his known works, is painted 
with a rather heavy hand; it seems to have been made directly, 
and it may even have been started de premier coup, that is, with- 
out preliminary underpainting; so, too, of others of Vermeer's 
earlier works which are heavily, and perhaps directly, painted. 
His later ones, on the contrary, were worked up on canvases 

64 Vermeer 

that had been underpainted with blue or green, a practice ac- 
counting for the bluish or greenish tonality which some of them 
today reveal. The ground, indeed, can sometimes be seen 
through the canvas, as notably in the Lady at the Virginals, Na- 
tional Gallery, and the Woman at the Casement, Metropolitan 
Museum. In the former of these the tonality is distinctly green- 
ish, and the writer well remembers the shock he experienced 
on first seeing it. In the painting at the Metropolitan the general 
tone is bluish, and, while one is aware that Vermeer loved blue 
and that this picture was conceived as from a blue keynote, it 
still appears that a blue ground does, in some measure, show 

Paintings of the Netherland masters, it may be added, have 
quite generally suffered at the cleaner's hands. It was a usual 
method, as in Vermeer's later practice, to start a picture quite 
solidly, using opaque colours and leaving the edges fairly sharp. 
Then glazes and scumbles, principally the former, were em- 
ployed to modify the edges. The present-day mode of cleaning 
a painting with tampons of cotton soaked with a cleaning mix- 
ture is safe enough for a canvas which was painted directly, 
without glazes. In the case of older pictures, with their delicate 
glazes, the story is different. One has seen a fine Metsu ruined 
by a so-called expert cleaner. Several of Vermeer's works have 
undoubtedly been injured by stupid cleaning. 

Study of his brushwork is essential to an understanding of 
Vermeer's technique, and to correct attribution of paintings 
ascribed to him. He painted with something very like the 
" square touch " that has been much in vogue among twentieth 
century painters. This workmanship is particularly noticeable 
in the Lace Maker, Louvre, and the Woman at the Casement, 
Metropolitan; but traces of it are observable in other paintings. 
The ribbons, for example, of the Portrait of a Woman, Buda- 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 65 

Pesth, are done in this manner so unmistakably that one won- 
ders how any ordinarily observant person ever thought of at- 
tributing this work to Rembrandt. The latter painted with a 
round brush. Franz Hals, as is well known, used the square 
touch, though principally to give brio to his lights — actually to 
impart an exaggerated force to the high light. Vermeer, in 
contradistinction, employed this touch for the careful, studied 
placing of one flat plane beside another, and for a subsequent 
brushing of the edges together. Such brushwork is considerably 
responsible, indeed, for giving Vermeer his modern look — for 
this method of applying the pigment is not like that of most of 
the older Netherland painters. 

Vermeer had, however, another touch for occasional use. 
He seems to have employed a small round brush to apply a suc- 
cession of staccato touches where he felt the need of brilliancy 
or a suggestion of richness of effect. This manipulation some- 
times appears on the same canvas with the square touch, and 
sometimes not. It was more frequently used on the earlier pic- 
tures, though it may be observed in his latest known work, the 
Studio, most of which is made with the suave square touch, but 
the painter found it necessary to make the pattern in the curtain 
more brilliant or more vibrant by resorting to what some writ- 
ers have called his pointille manner. 1 

One of Vermeer's qualities which evokes the admiration of 
many professional painters is the justness of his study of edges. 

When a painter speaks of an " edge " he means the separation 
of one form or mass from another. Where, for instance, a head 
comes against a background, it is bounded by an edge. Such 

1 It should be noted that this term, though frequently applied to Vermeer's 
manner of using a small round brush, is misleading if one conceives of pointillon- 
ism in the sense in which it describes the work of Seurat and other French im- 
pressionists. These made their paintings almost exclusively from tiny specks of 
pure colour, juxtaposed. Vermeer did not anticipate impressionism — as regards 
either Manet's theory of values or Seurat's method. 

66 Vermeer 

edges vary in character according to conditions of light, their 
distance from the spectator, and their own intrinsic sharpness 
or softness. 

The problems of rendering edges are fundamental in the art 
of pictorial representation. Primitive painters almost universally 
made, as amateurs still make, their edges too uniformly sharp. 
Their work, as a consequence, whatever its merit may be, looks 
hard. Leonardo da Vinci was perhaps the first painter to study 
edges systematically, making the separation of his masses dis- 
tinct where it appeared sharp; soft, where in nature it looked 
blurry and indeterminate. Many of da Vinci's followers, and 
still more the school of Correggio, tended to paint their edges 
almost uniformly soft; and this to some extent was a defect of 

Most Netherland painters studied their edges attentively, and 
so it happens that one thinks less of the hardness or softness of 
their work than is the case in viewing old masters of other na- 
tions. Almost any one of their good paintings simply looks about 
right in this respect. Among them all, however, Vermeer was 
most notably successful in creating something so like the aspect 
of nature that the spectator takes the edges for granted. 

Literary critics of the art of painting may suppose this ques- 
tion of edges, of rendering the effect of " lost and found " in 
representative art, to be a quite trivial matter, and unworthy of 
the importance which painters assign to it. It was, nevertheless, 
his sensitive and intelligent study of edges that gave Vermeer his 
mastery of light and shade. His interiors have a charm from 
seeming to be defined clearly in pellucid air. Objects delineated 
in them do not look cloudy or as if seen through a thick haze. 
The unmannered edge was one of Vermeer's supreme tech- 
nical achievements. Less than any other painter of Holland did 
he resort to a mechanical subterfuge to create atmosphere or 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 6j 

aerial perspective, as by unduly softening the edges of things 
far back in the picture or out of the focus. Everything in one of 
his paintings was put into place, into right relationship with 
everything else, by well-considered study of all the edges. The 
end of a map stick against a wall appears with just the clearness 
it had in actuality; yet — the painter has somehow given an 
impression of its being further back than are the principal parts 
of the composition. He managed to express the " specific val- 
ues," so to say, of different edges. He knew how to make things 
" go back," while retaining a sense of their form and solidity. 
The technical problem involved in this study of edges is exces- 
sively difficult. Vermeer, unlike Rembrandt and others who 
softened their edges indiscriminately, faced all the difficulties 
of hard and soft, of " lost and found," manfully, and over- 
came them. 

Vermeer's conscientiousness in observing separations was 
continued in his registration of light and shade. He noted in a 
remarkable way the comparative obscurity of the shadows in 
their relationship with the light. He did not paint them hazy and 
obscure, but gave each shadow its own luminosity and colour. 
This seems simple enough, but it is a difficult feat of good 
painting, for pitfalls into which the greatest masters of chiaros- 
curo have fallen can be seen at museums. Ribera and Caravaggio 
consistently made their shadows unpleasantly obscure and 
black. Rembrandt, who perceived how shadows are illumi- 
nated by reflected light within them, made them, usually, some- 
what too warm; possibly, too, he sometimes rendered his 
reflected lights too prominently — a fault for which young stu- 
dents of painting are scolded. Velazquez was addicted to shad- 
ows too uniformly brown, except in one or two wonderful 
paintings such as Las Meninas. 

It is not in humanity to be perfect, but it can be said that 

68 Vermeer 

Vermeer recorded his perception of light and shade more sen- 
sitively than did anv other European painter. His colour as seen 
todav may not always look absolutely right, but its infelicities 
can be laid to pigment changes or over-cleaning. In those of his 
paintings which have " kept," the colour of the shadows is both 
beautiful and true. Xo one has ever painted the graduated light 
on a wall better than he. Some of the moderns have perhaps 
noted " colour shifts " a little more acutely, but any one of 
them would acknowledge that Vermeer was the master who 
first showed them the way. 

The jewel-like finish of a painting by Vermeer has some- 
times been criticised as if it were a defect. 2 Yet, as regards 
jacture, observe that Vermeer, like most of the other Nether- 
land painters (except Rembrandt and some of his pupils), 
painted smoothly. Even Rembrandt, indeed, in his little in- 
teriors, such as the Philosopher at the Louvre, worked towards 
a smooth surface, doubtless because there was no other way of 
rendering fine details. Vermeer's earliest known painting, the 
Courtesan, as a matter of fact, was painted rather heavily — 
this, perhaps, due to the frequent repaintings of a youth not yet 
sure of his effects. As, however, he grew more skilful, his pic- 
tures became smoother in surface, some of the later ones ex- 
tremely so. This high finish presumably did not arise from 
artistic timidity or from a liking for slick things. Though Ver- 
meer kept his surfaces smooth, he contrived always to have 
them interesting and agreeable in quality — bien nourri, as the 
French say. Some painters — great artists at that, like Ingres — 
in making a surface sleek, have given it a mean and impoverished 

2 Thus Mr. Thomas Craven, in his "Men of Art": "He (Vermeer) resembles 
a diamond cutter in his manner of working and in his finished product, adding 
globule to globule to fashion a jeweled object, just as the lapidary, with infinite 
skill and phlegmatic diligence, adds facet to facet to bring out the splendour of 
an expensive substance. Try as you may to find anything spiritual in him and you 
will find yourself talking of craftsmanship and describing precious stones." 

^ stfclq 

r recorded his p( 
sitively than did an 
today may not alw. 
can be laid I 
paintings which I 
on a wall I 

I ' colour 
Aould aci 
showed them I 
The jewel-lik( 
times been 


;olour as seen 

its infelicities 

d those of his 

: both 


has so;. 


facture, obs »ost of the other Nether- 

land paintei nd some of his pupils), 

in his little in- 


Vermeer of Delft 

teriors, sue! 

uooth suri 
rendering fine 
Courtesan, as a 
this, perhaps, d\. 

of his effe( 
.\ becan 
trcmely so. Tl 
artistic timidin 
meer kept h 
them interesting 
French say. Some 

aking a surface 

hus Mr. Thomas C 

i nd cutter in his 

■ oule to f? 

niatic dii> 

- of c 

s ex- 
arise from 
g for slick things. Though Ver- 
h, he contrived always 

[Text on Page 177] 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 69 

look. In Vermeer's workmanship one has always the sense of 
a well-charged brush. His draperies are rendered fluently, 
though without overloading of the pigment. Even his staccato 
touches come from a sufficiently full brush. One would say 
that he did not use much medium or vehicle in attaining his 
fused effects, but that he depended upon a quantity, or ration, 
of pigments daily ground for him by his colour boy. 

These freshly mixed tones — doubtless containing much oil, 
but oil carefully mixed in and not scrabbled in after the hap- 
hazard chance of the palette — enabled Vermeer to work over 
and over his passages, with freedom and yet smoothly. Nor was 
this quality of the surface a fetich. If Vermeer felt that he had 
made the edge of a shadow too sharp, instead of fuzzing the 
edges together or wiping one into another, as Metsu was wont 
to do, he worked with his staccato touches, after a fashion of 
stippling, until the desired vagueness was attained. This process 
necessitated his making each touch of just the right colour, and 
in less skilful hands the paint would have lumped up. 

Vermeer must have started his picture by laying in the light 
and shade very flat, without, at first, much suggestion of model- 
ing. In almost any of his paintings in which a part has been 
left comparatively unfinished, one is conscious of the simple 
flatness of this. The modeling of the figures and important 
accessories which followed the primary laying-in is, of course, 
excellent, as has been the modeling of all great painters. It was 
so elusive, in Vermeer's case, that with difficulty one perceives 
or describes its peculiarities. No one can conjecture just how the 
thing was done. The result is simply there, without telltale evi- 
dence of tricks or brushwork. It was part of the artist's art to 
conceal the manner of its making. 

Modern executants who stress the importance of planes and 
planal angles cannot cite Vermeer as one who felt form as they 

70 Vermeer 

feel it. He seems always to have thought more, in a general way, 
of causing objects to look round than to render the individual 
planes with sharp differentiation. The Head of a Young Girl, 
The Hague, is perhaps the finest piece of modeling we have 
from Vermeer's hand. In it the turn from the shadow of the 
cheek into the light, the modulations of the mouth, the grada- 
tions of the half light on the nose, are really marvelous. Its sense 
of light and shade, indeed, makes this one of the finest heads 
ever painted. Yet it was modeled, apparently, by one whose 
primary interest was in its rotundity; the feeling in it of the 
relationship of the planes is not very strong. In some of Ver- 
meer's earlier paintings, as in the Milkwoman, the modeling is 
more marked, is less subtle than in his later works, while in the 
Lace Maker the observance of the planes is quite evident. 

When painting, Vermeer undoubtedly sat at his easel instead 
of standing before it, as most present-day painters do. Sitting 
at the easel seems to have been the general custom of the Nether- 
land painters. A minor matter, this, of standing or sitting before 
one's work; yet it has a bearing upon technical accomplish- 
ments. The best in modern painting is likely to be strong in 
respect of its values. The large notes are seen and recorded con- 
vincingly, but the lesser transitions are often slighted; objects 
are rendered vigorously but sometimes abruptly and petulantly. 
In the older painting, of the Low Countries especially, and 
transcendently in Vermeer, the values are well enough seen; 
but the diverse elements are brought into unity by an effort of 
intelligence rather than by a mere dabbing-on of notes that are 
approximately right in relation to each other. The transitions 
and modulations are exquisitely studied by a man who, well 
planted in his seat, possessed his soul in quietude instead of 
eagerly walking forward and back in his studio. The rendering, 
in brief, is suave and serene. 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 71 

A question, similar to the one just considered, which greatly 
interests painters, is whether Vermeer painted de premier coup 
or on an ebauche; that is, whether he began his painting, touch 
by touch, piece by piece, or whether he made a general rub-in, 
as most painters do now. 

A reason for thinking that in at least some of his pictures Ver- 
meer painted de premier coup is that in the Studio the artist, 
who has drawn in his subject in white chalk, is beginning to 
paint the wreath on the girl's head without having rubbed in the 
rest of the composition at all. It is not necessary to suppose that 
the artist was Vermeer himself, but if he posed a model or 
a friend he would probably represent this person as painting 
in the way he, himself, was accustomed to paint. An alternative 
is to conceive this as an ironical comment on another man's way 
of painting, but Vermeer's style, generally, was so detached, so 
devoid of anecdote or comment, that such a supposition is rather 

While the piece-by-piece method is thought by many paint- 
ers to be a futile and silly way of beginning a picture, there is 
something to be said in its favour, when it is competently fol- 
lowed. A " rub-in " is not necessarily true in its general effect. It 
is true only in so far forth as its maker is perceptive and skilful 
enough to make it true. If the unknown artist of the Vermeer 
picture who is painting a wreath were clever enough to pitch 
his darkest accent and his highest light essentially right, his 
work would turn out truer in values than a picture made by a 
" rubber-in " who should not, at the outset, have got his dark- 
est accent and his highest light just right. A disadvantage, in 
other words, of the rub-in, is that from its very rapidity one is 
likely to get everything more or less wrong. The painter assumes 
that his general effect is right, and, proceeding on such a sup- 
position, produces something that is too dingy, too dark, or too 

72 Vermeer 

brown, or whatever the general defect of his rub-in may have 
been. It is quite possible, on the contrary, for a painter to think 
out in advance his relations of tones and colours while he starts 
in to make his picture piece by piece, and it may well be that 
Vermeer proceeded in this way. He would decide how dark to 
set his lowest notes, as in his black picture frames; and how light 
he could have his highest notes, which would still appear 
coloured. Having thus determined their " pitch " he gradually 
registered the intermediate notes, one by one, as related in a 
scale of correspondences to the lights and darks of nature. 

Things that are carried far are usually begun piece by piece. 
The mere fact that the painter does not lay in a general effect 
makes him solicitous about the final effect towards which he is 
working. Vermeer's paintings look as if they had been so made. 

A quality which is sometimes called " architectonic " gives 
Vermeer's works not a little of their charm. Whatever of inci- 
dent or action may be happening within the composition, one 
feels behind it firm, upright lines: column or pilaster, quiet hori- 
zontal lines of beam or baseboard. The paintings have a " built " 
look which gives them a sense of steadiness and peace. One 
proof of the artistic value of this quality is that the lack of it is 
felt in the few pieces attributed to Vermeer which are not so 
composed, as in the Courtesan and the Diana. 

Whether Vermeer was conscious of a psychic appeal of the 
balance of grave vertical and horizontal lines is doubtful; very 
likely he was not. The effect, at all events, is there, and while it 
is one which other artists have striven for — de Hooch, his 
friend, Albert Moore, Whistler, and so on — one associates this 
primarily with Vermeer; without doubt because he attained it 
more successfully than any other. 

A cognate quality which Vermeer shares with few painters is 
his severity of line. He was not a man who strove for telling 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 73 

outline; sometimes, as in the detail of a hand, his line perceptibly 
falters. He understood, nevertheless, the sensation of strength 
that a straight or nearly straight line may give in support of, or 
in opposition to, a curved line. In some pictures, as notably in 
the Pearl Necklace, Berlin, he carries this simplifying of contour 
almost to excess. One may, indeed, be justified in putting the 
maker of the Elgin marbles, Millet and Vermeer in a class by 
themselves as regards almost perfect mastery of the simpli- 
fied line. 

This appreciation of the value of severe and distinguished 
line, interestingly, does not appear in Vermeer's earlier work. 
It is not found in the Courtesan, and certainly not in the Toilette 
of Diana which, truth to say, is in point of design rather a tire- 
some performance. The Milkavoman lacks line. The Pearl 
Necklace, on the other hand, the Metropolitan Woman at a 
Casement, the Music Lesson — long at Windsor Castle, now 
at Buckingham Palace — the Lady at the Virginals, National 
Gallery, reveal a fine understanding of the potentialities of 
severe line. 

In several of Vermeer's best painted works, curiously enough, 
the sense of line is not so obvious and impressive as in the pic- 
tures just mentioned. In the Studio, Czernin Collection, and 
the Love Letter, Rijks Museum, which seem to have been 
painted at about the same time, the scheme of composing by 
use of verticals and horizontals has been followed, but with 
hardly so beautiful an outcome. Vermeer, possibly, at last be- 
came so much interested in painting for its own delightful sake 
that he ceased to pay much attention to the graces of composi- 
tion or design. 

Evaluation of Vermeer's drawing is difficult because while, 
in one sense of the word, he was an excellent draughtsman, there 
is another viewpoint from which his drawing was not remark- 

74 Vermeer 

able. He did not draw structurally at all. While many of the 
Netherland painters knew their anatomy and constructed their 
figures understandingly, it is questionable if Vermeer really 
understood the construction of the arm, the wrist, the hand, 
the knee, the foot. By sheer keenness of perception he some- 
times rendered wonderfully well the general shape and size of 
a hand; this by indication of the way the light slid over it. He 
often drew heads well, as if they were still life. His accessories 
were delineated about as adequately as by anyone. There is 
occasionally a little faltering in getting one side of a jug even 
with the other side, but, practically speaking, Vermeer, 
working always from the appearance of things, delineated 
still life — chairs, crumpled rugs and his famous lion's heads — 
quite adequately. 

In respect both of the excellences and the limitations of his 
draughtsmanship Vermeer was decidedly a painter of old Hol- 
land. It is fashionable to speak of Rembrandt and his contem- 
poraries as impeccable draughtsmen; Fromentin and Kenyon 
Cox, the latter an accomplished draughtsman himself, have writ- 
ten to that effect. Yet, as must appear to anyone looking sym- 
pathetically through portfolios of old drawings, a wild scribble 
by Cellini, or by almost any one of the baroque imitators of 
Michelangelo, contains more adequate suggestion of construc- 
tion than can be noted in any Netherland work. This is not to 
say that the baroque scribbles are altogether good; one indicates 
merely that their makers knew something of anatomical struc- 
ture, of attachments and flexions of muscles. They got at the 
drawing of an arm or of a torso from intimate perception of its 
construction, whereas the men of Holland sought to render it 
as it looked by studying its proportions and the effect of light 
and shade upon it. The latter got what they were after, gen- 
erally, but their drawing was not necessarily constructive. 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 75 

While Vermeer depicted most still life admirably his treat- 
ment of draperies was not invariably successful. Sometimes, 
indeed, as in the Neiv Testament, it was extremely bad. This 
defect did not matter so much in portrayal of the stiffly quaint 
costumes of the time, but in the management of a classical sub- 
ject the unskilful rendering of the draperies is unedifying. 

This weakness is notable in the Diana, the drapery of which 
chaste huntress is badly cluttered up. The directness of vision 
which served Vermeer so well in recording a jug or a rug some- 
times failed him as he attacked the difficult problem of complex 
draperies. He did not then paint across the form, as in many 
of his beautiful heads and bits of still life, but with the form, 
after the more meretricious manner of lesser men. 

Because some of his draperies are brilliantly and very com- 
petently painted, as superlatively in the skirt of the Brunswick 
Coquette, it has been plausibly supposed that Vermeer, when 
he could do so, arranged his costumes on a lay figure. He thus 
could do his draperies like a crumpled rug or a hanging curtain 
magnificently because they stayed still for him; he rendered 
what he saw. 

This topic of the handling of draperies is vital towards an 
understanding of the qualities and defects of Jan Vermeer's art. 
To make handsome classic drapery requires, as is well known in 
the studios, prolonged and special study and a particular com- 
prehension of the nature and manner of folds. Such power of 
analysis of a difficult problem of depiction Vermeer simply did 
not have. Neither did most of his contemporaries. He had a 
wonderful hand and a wonderful eye. Anything that would 
remain still for him — that he could look at again and again, 
studying every phase of its appearance, — that thing he was 
able to depict as no other man could. 

Gesture is a quality which, in some artists' work, is supremely 

y6 Vermeer 

important. Studying some reproductions of a group of Ingres's 
paintings and drawings you realize that much, if not most, of the 
extraordinary distinction of his work springs from the original 
and well-chosen action of his figures. As for Vermeer, however, 
it must be said that with him gesture is of secondary conse- 
quence. His is usually competent — it is seldom grotesque, as 
often with Rembrandt; yet, for a man as original in arrangement 
and colour as Vermeer was, it is remarkable that he was so little 
interested in unusual and distinguished gesture. 

The action of any one of his good figures, as in the Lace 
Maker, Louvre, is seen to be correct. It explains itself, but one 
feels nothing especially significant in it. It is not piquant. It 
does not appeal to the imagination as does the gesture of one of 
Edgar Degas's ballet girls or washerwomen to whose every 
movement has been imparted a significance, an intention, that 
somehow transcends the mere necessity of the bodily movement. 

The most beautiful gesture, perhaps, which Vermeer 
achieved was in the Pearl Necklace, Berlin Gallery. Here one 
does sense something of indescribable significance in the pose — 
the universality of the eternal feminine. And the Pearl Neck- 
lace, doubtless because so charmingly gestured, is among the 
most popular of his works. 

No other of the old masters responded to the subtleties of 
light and shade, to adequate registration of both " dark and light 
values " and " colour values," as did Jan Vermeer. This was a 
quality making his work unique in his time; it explains in con- 
siderable part the enthusiasm with which painters influenced by 
the French impressionism of the late nineteenth century have 
acclaimed Vermeer. 

Most people who have studied drawing and painting at all 
know in a general way what is meant by " values," — establish- 
ment by the depictor of a definite series of related masses from 

8 «i*&\q 

[q\i ^l^ wo mT] 

Plate 8 


it. Studying some reproductions of a group of Ingres's 

if not most, of the 

from the original 

cr, however, 

dary conse- 

esque, as 


■ igs and drawings you realize that im 
^ordinary distinction of his worl 
and well-chosen action of his figur 
ust be said that with him g 
quence. His is usualh 
often with Rembrandt . 
and colour as Ven 

d in unusual and 
i€ action of an 
Maker, Louvre 

feels nothing e n it. It is not piquant. It 

does n$:ppfl£aj &f De ^ t loes the gesture of one of 

movement has n ,., . intention, that 

Rijks MuseiJM, Amsterdam 

rv of th ncnt. 

somehow trans 

The most 
achieved was it I 
does sense som 
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most popular of his wor! 

No other of the old 
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values " and " co' 
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French imprt 
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Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 77 

highest light to lowest dark; or, in case of colour values, from 
hottest to coldest hue. 

It is a customary practice of the studios and art classes to em- 
phasize a certain simplification of nature by starting a sketch or 
picture with a quick indication of the " big values." A landscape 
painter, to whom values are essential if he is to avoid getting all 
mixed up as he paints, will habitually rub in a very light sky as, 
say, his Number 1 value; a slightly darker foreground as the 
Number 2 value; still darker masses of foliage as a Number 3; 
deep shadows, as Number 4. This rub-in gives the artist a simple 
silhouette which he tries to preserve while he elaborates the de- 
tails of his picture. When he has thus established his large 
scheme of values he can proceed to develop high lights, half 
lights, penumbra, shadow, reflected lights, accents, translu- 

If the painter also understands what impressionism has 
taught about colour values, he will all the time be registering 
the warm and the cool of what he sees. If his Number 1 value, 
as above, the sky, is mostly cold — that is, predominantly blue or 
blue-green — it is probable that the Number 4 value will also be 
cool, while in the foreground and on the sunlit portions of the 
foliage there will be yellow, orange, reddish and brown notes 
intermixed with the green. Those who paint indoors have some- 
what different problems, but essentially their usual method 
is to start from a brisk rub-in, which should assure a logical 
framework of values on which to build a painting. 

Certain modern painters have carried, or pretend to have 
carried, this study of values to tremendous lengths. A well- 
known American artist resident at Paris used to tell of his having 
counted off in advance 150 values for a picture which he was 
about to paint. So far as direct, visual appeal of a composition 
is concerned four large values are better than one hundred 

78 Vermeer 

subtly related values, and most painters wisely follow a simple 
pattern of masses. They proceed as a sculptor might who would 
make the large planes of his sitter's head and later, when these 
were properly related to each other, elaborate the lesser planes 
and gradations. This, interestingly, is very much the plan which 
Vermeer followed, though probably without a preliminary 

He paid attention also to colour tone, which is not identical 
with dark-and-light tone — the latter called by the Japanese 
notan. Herein is something differentiating Vermeer from other 
painters of long ago. The old masters simplified nature by ignor- 
ing the colour shifts, the interplay of warm and cool, which 
anybody can see by looking closely into shadows and half-tones. 
They habitually painted all their shadows of a rich brownish 
tone, giving no regard to the local or transient colour which an 
observant person might have liked to register. 

An extreme of this brownness of tone may be seen in the 
works of Ribera, but even so subtle and perceptive a painter 
as Velazquez was little preoccupied with the colour value of 
his shadows, unless in his latest work. Rubens noticed that in- 
door lights are generally cooler than the shadows; that the 
darker half lights often come of a pearly, ashen tone, and that 
the indoor shadows, including their reflected lights, are warm. 
This knowledge, not very profound, was reduced by Rubens 
to a formula. It was a first step in the study of colour values. 

Vermeer went much further than Rubens in this direction. 
He endeavoured to make each tone as it appeared, whether 
warm, neutral or cool. His quest, unlike that of the modern im- 
pressionists, had no scientific basis. He merely observed the 
appearance of things more closely and more naively than they 
had been observed before his time. 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 79 

Because, since about 1870, preoccupation with colour values 
has made modern painting quite different from that which one 
has in mind when one speaks of the old masters, the rediscovery 
of Vermeer has been accompanied by much enthusiasm for his 
comprehension of the colouristic realities, or colour values. Any 
painter who is himself familiar with the problems of registra- 
tion of masses and spots of colour realizes that, beyond almost 
any other man who ever painted, Vermeer understood light 
and shade in relation to both their dark-and-light and their 
warm-and-cool aspects. Literary critics have praised his in- 
teriors for their " atmosphere," but practically speaking there 
is no atmosphere in an interior! The distance between the fore- 
ground and the background is so slight that the intervening 
air does not modify it at all. What the unwary call " atmos- 
phere " in an interior is really its colouristic light and shade, its 
chromatic chiaroscuro. This clair-obscur, as the French trans- 
late it, seems to the layman such an obvious condition of things 
that he hardly realizes how necessary it is for the painter to 
learn to compare rightly the obscurity of forms in the shadow 
with their emergence in the half-tone and in the light. 

Vermeer's method of arrangement was decidedly personal. 
It was unlike that of his European predecessors and contem- 
poraries. It resembled, in qualities of design and notan, the orien- 
tal masters with some of whom, as a son of Delft, he almost 
certainly was familiar. It was enough like the departure from 
conventional occidental pattern which James McNeill Whistler 
later made in direct consequence of his study of Japanese prints 
to cause many observers to comment upon the compositional 
resemblances between Vermeer and Whistler. 

This highly individual method of arrangement seems to many 
to have been Vermeer's outstanding achievement. It deserves, 

80 Vermeer 

surely, extended exposition in terms which the professional 
artist should comprehend and which the layman through ob- 
servation and appreciation can understand. 

The words " composition " and " design " are often used as 
if they are interchangeable, but in reality each connotes some- 
thing rather different from the other. 

Composition is a composing or pushing-about of the various 
parts of a picture — of the items of main interest and of sec- 
ondary and tertiary interest — in such manner that the picture 
explains itself and tells its story to the eye. 

Design is the preliminary arranging or studying out of an 
agreeable or significant pattern, a framework for the composi- 
tion of the picture. It includes the disposing of the dark masses 
so that they will balance agreeably with the light masses. In 
modern commercial art, as is well known, the designer makes 
great case of having the dark masses of his poster or advertising 
placard properly related to the light masses. 

The design — the pattern, so to say — of certain of Vermeer's 
works is superlatively beautiful. This excellence of theirs is the 
more remarkable as it is a quality which does not appear in the 
work of most of the older Netherland painters. Their pictures 
are often admirably composed; they convey their motive and 
their story. They are sometimes composed subtly and elusively. 
Yet the ablest of these painters were uninterested, as a rule, in 
the underlying pattern of their compositions. An exception 
among them, in this regard, was Fabritius, Vermeer's fellow 
townsman; and this circumstance gives one reason for supposing 
that Fabritius may have been intimate with Vermeer. The 
methods of the two men as designers, however, were not closely 
alike, and Vermeer excelled in both composition and design. 
As his subjects were usually of the simplest nature, his com- 
positional problems were not particularly intricate. Whatever 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 8i 

story there was to tell, this was of the shortest and simplest; 
the intrigue required no elaborate working out. The design, on 
the other hand, of a Vermeer, is often subtle, highly original, 
and, in his best works, very beautiful. 

For their qualities of design one thinks especially of the Music 
Lesson, formerly in Windsor Castle, the National Gallery Lady 
at the Virginals, the Pearl Necklace, Berlin Gallery, the Woman 
at the Casement, Metropolitan Museum, the Reader, Amster- 
dam Gallery, and the Girl Reading a Letter, Dresden Gallery. 
Some of Vermeer's works, withal, which contain his best paint- 
ing, are not remarkable in design. Thus, the weakly patterned 
Studio of the Czernin Collection seems to have been painted for 
the sheer pleasure of the painting. 

As Vermeer's design and composition are so original and 
personal, it is strange that his work was ever mistaken for that 
of other men — Terborch, de Hooch, and Metsu, for instance, 
each of whom had his own mode of composition. 

Terborch, as a rule, employed his background merely as a foil 
for the human figure. He made wonderful little figures which 
are the whole thing in his pictures; to them the background is 
entirely subsidiary, delightful as it may be in its manner of 
staying back. In planning a composition, Terborch apparently 
at first arranged his mannikins agreeably and then bethought 
himself of a fitting background. 

De Hooch's plan of composing was quite different from 
Terborch's. A picture presented itself to his mind as an interior 
composed of beautiful lines and chiaroscuro. His figures look 
like afterthoughts, as in the one — Dutch Interior with Soldiers 
— at the National Gallery, London, in which lines of the back- 
ground can be seen showing through one of the principal fig- 
ures. De Hooch, in point of fact, did not do the figure at all 
well. He is a painter of interiors, par excellence. 

82 Vermeer 

Vermeer felt the figure and the background to be of equal 
importance. Neither could exist without the other in one of his 
paintings. Both are integral parts of the well-designed composi- 
tion. A map or a picture on the wall is conceived, in a Vermeer, 
to be as essential and significant as a head or a figure. These, 
in fact, are ordered compositions which must have been made 
on the spot. One can fancy Vermeer placing his model around 
in the room, or observing her from various viewpoints, until 
the scheme of things took on a shape appealing to him. His one- 
figure effects, incidentally, are his most personal. 

A departure from the compositional conventions of his time 
which especially distinguished Vermeer was his habit of some- 
times cutting his principal figure halfway down, so that only a 
portion of the person appears in the picture. This practice was 
almost unknown to Terborch and de Hooch. The former used 
his little figures to compose a comedy. It was essential that they 
should all be there, from head to foot. De Hooch's conception 
of a figure was that there should be a room all around it. Ver- 
meer cut off his figures whenever and wherever the design hap- 
pened to demand such treatment. 

Reference has been made to certain points of resemblance of 
Vermeer's work to the Japanese. These are not altogether con- 
clusive. The differences as well as the likenesses between their 
method and his are marked. 

The Japanese designers, as of the Korin screens or the Uki- 
yoye prints, customarily base their pattern on some diagonal 
line which they very skilfully modify by opposed diagonals 
and by charming arabesques thrown against it. Vermeer's de- 
sign, on the contrary, is based on a scheme of uprights and 
verticals. His composition, of course, always includes light and 
shade, which the Japanese habitually ignore. 

Yet, however different it may be in compositional manner 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 83 

from the Ukiyoye, Vermeer's painting does indubitably, to 
some extent, resemble Far Eastern art. Both these forms of de- 
sign reveal a desaxe scheme of arrangement; elements of the 
picture straggle into it from outside and are related to each 
other without reference to a central axis. Both give an impres- 
sion of design or pattern that is a primary motive and not a sort 
of by-product of the story-telling. 

Vermeer, as has been said, was quite certainly in a position to 
see works of art from the Orient. The blue and white Delft pot- 
tery of the seventeenth century was avowedly based on blue 
and white porcelains from the Far East. Vermeer must have 
known the potteries, and as a man interested in things artistic 
and as a member of the Guild of St. Luke, he surely had friends 
among the potters, many of whom, as has already been men- 
tioned, were members of the Guild. He was so situated as to 
have observed many oriental designs which could have sug- 
gested to him his own schemes of pattern. 

The Japanese designers, as just said, excelled in notan. This 
signifies an agreeable, well-planned distribution and balance of 
the light masses and dark masses of a composition. In Vermeer's 
best paintings, one is struck by the evidence that he gave much 
attention to balance, shape and rhythm among his masses. Like 
the Japanese, he composed with dark masses that are per se 
dark; light masses, per se light. He did not rely on dark shadows, 
as Rembrandt and also some of the Italian masters often did, 
to get him out of a compositional difficulty by indicating a 
murky passage due to temporary or accidental conditions. Al- 
though Vermeer understood chiaroscuro, as every painter in 
Holland did, and made use of this knowledge, yet as a matter 
of composition most of his pictures would have looked just as 
well if painted in flat local tones after the style of a Japanese 

84 Vermeer 

This excellence of Vermeer's notan is more notable in his 
later middle period than in his early period. Herein is a circum- 
stance to cause one to suspect that some outside influence, such 
as his discovery of oriental designs at the potteries, came into 
his life after he was well started as a painter. 

A characteristic of Vermeer's pattern which further reveals 
a possible indebtedness to the Orient is that he habitually de- 
signs in dark against light. This is the reverse of the method of 
nearly all the other Netherland painters. They employed a dark 
background as a foil to a light figure. Except Vermeer — and, in 
one or two examples, Metsu — Fabritius is perhaps the only one 
among them who gave preference to arrangements of dark 
against light. This marked peculiarity of Vermeer's can be seen 
in the Pearl Necklace, the Reader, Rijks Museum, the Woman 
at the Casement and several others. Even when he did not dis- 
pose his figures to loom dark against a paler background he 
crowded masses of lower tone in the foreground in such fashion 
as to make a dark silhouette against a more luminous middle 

The factual content of a good Vermeer offers another reason 
for stressing the resemblance of his pattern to that of the Japa- 
nese. Like the latter he had a habit of putting into his picture 
precisely the elements needed to create a pictorial unity, a bal- 
ance, and of leaving out everything else. He was quite unlike 
other Hollanders in this regard. Jan Steen's canvases pullulate 
cats, dogs, bird-cages, beer-mugs, people. Metsu often forgot 
reserve and good taste as he introduced trivial accessories into 
his market scenes. Terborch had more of Vermeer's restraint, 
but his little canvases are like scenes at the theatre rather than 
pictorial compositions. Vermeer alone sought simplicity of ar- 
rangement. We, like Vermeer, have come to feel that a pic- 
torial composition should not be cluttered up with extraneous 

Q ^fcH 

l^8l ">%t>'\ HO > 

Vlate 9 

able in his 

1 is a circum- 

' lence, such 

came into 


Ver n be seen 

Jan Vermeer of Delft VomOfl 


Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin 

. ist a 

j bit of p picture 

I unity, a bal- 

|uite unlike 


QC . 

more of Y int, 

lies at ti- ll * n 

a pic- 

[Text on Page 187] 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 85 

accessories but should have its main elements stated as simply 
as possible. 3 

Vermeer was an original colourist. In the Pearl Necklace, 
Berlin, the yellowish jacket is balanced by a yellowish curtain 
in the upper left corner, and so in nearly all his works one sees 
evidences of a quite personal system of balances or rappels of 
colour. A blue in one place is counterweighted by a blue else- 
where; and if a yellow note has been set down in one part of 
the picture there will usually be a touch of yellow somewhere 
else to recall it. These rappels are traceable in painting after 

His compositions are often based on a strong blue — a colour 
which many designers have thought difficult or dangerous to 
handle. Fear of blue was perhaps unlikely in a man of Delft, 
where among the potteries an artist could well have acquired a 
perception of the possibilities of blue in relation to white. It 
may not be accidental that a number of the Vermeer paintings 
are built upon this motive common in Delft ware — blue opposi- 
tions upon a dull greyish-white wall. 

Vermeer, nevertheless, went further than to create simple 
colour symphonies, after the manner of Whistler's nocturnes. 
He frequently felt the need of a cutting colour, a complemen- 

3 In this treatment of Mr. Hale's original comment upon the quite plausible 
analogies between Vermeer's art and some of that of the Far East, I have had in 
mind that Vermeer conceivably might have seen screens by Sansetzu and Tanyu, 
who were his Japanese contemporaries, and it would not have been strange if he 
caught something of the enthusiasm with which in 1662 the Delft potters received 
large imports of the so-called Imari ware from the bazaar at Nagasaki. They were 
also at this period beginning to import Chinese porcelains. Writing of the possible 
influence of oriental art on Carel Fabritius Sir Charles Holmes is quoted by Mr. 
Wilenski as follows: " The importation of Chinese porcelain by the Dutch East 
India Company had begun to compete seriously with the native industry. Then 
one Aelbrecht de Keizer ... set about imitating the decorating and modeling 
of the Chinese pieces, and with such success that in a very few years the Delft 
ware in the oriental style became widely famous. It was inevitable that Fabritius 
at Delft . . . should come into close contact with the leading potters and with the 
oriental art which they were then studying so closely." F. W. C. 

86 Vermeer 

tary, in his colour harmonies. With uncanny intuition he real- 
ized that yellow, not orange, was the complementary of the 
kind of blue he used. He thus anticipated certain modern studies 
of the laws of colour such as, for instance, the Schistoscope of 
Bruecke, which gives yellow as the complementary of lapis 

Given blue, yellow, grey, white and black, Vermeer pos- 
sessed his basic colours, or tones, on which most of his com- 
positions are built. He had his own ways of obviating any feel- 
ing of emptiness which this limited range might have seemed 
to impose. Observe how, in the Pearl Necklace, he discreetly 
introduces behind the table a chair which is of a dull greenish 
tone with blue and yellow touches; and how there is a little knot 
of red ribbon in the girl's hair which gives piquancy to the en- 
tire colour combination. Note, again, that Vermeer sometimes 
uses a crumpled rug of red, with touches of yellow, blue, white 
and black, which, to use an old country phrase, " cuts the 
grease " of an otherwise too suave colour harmony. The rug, 
incidentally, is likely to be placed for the most part in shadow, 
so that its red tones are not dominant. 

The appeal of such colour symphonies to the modern taste 
is illustrated in a passage in one of the letters of Vincent van 
Gogh, Post-Impressionist, in which, speaking of the Reader in 
the Rijks Museum, he says: " Do you know of a painter called 
Jan van de Meer? He painted a very distinguished and beautiful 
Dutch woman in pregnancy. The scale of colours of this strange 
artist consists of blue, lemon yellow, pearl grey, black, and 
white. It is true in the few pictures he painted the whole range 
of his palette is to be found; but it is just as characteristic of him 
to place a lemon yellow, a dull blue and light grey together as it 
is of Velazquez to harmonise black, white, gray and pink." 

This poignant use, to which van Gogh refers, of lemon yel- 

Characteristics of Vermeer's Technique 87 

low is one of his technical achievements. Certain theorists have 
asserted that a clear, saturated, light yellow cannot be success- 
fully used in a colour composition. The answer to such an asser- 
tion is that a yellow of this kind has been successfully employed 
in many compositions. Not only in Vermeer is this clear yellow 
found, but also, used in a different way, it can be observed in 
Terborch and in some of the works of Murillo. 

Vermeer, to sum up his attainments as a colourist, is one of 
the few painters adept at composing a picture colouristically. 
Most of the figure compositions of other Netherland artists im- 
press one as somewhat grim and grey in tone, though they have 
patches of colour worked in here and there to enliven the 
sombreness. Sometimes such punctuating colours were happily 
chosen; sometimes not. Vermeer nearly always chose his colour 
felicitously. Thinking, indeed, of the great colourists of Euro- 
pean history, one realizes that they followed one or another of 
three ways of composing: the Venetian way, Vermeer's, and 

The Venetians composed with a full bouquet of colour; they 
managed almost always to get all the important colours into 
their pictures: a rich crimson red, a cool yellow, a peacock blue, 
a warm bronzed green, a rusty orange, even a little purple of 
sorts, not to speak of plenty of white and a bit of black. All 
these colours they somehow harmonised — perhaps because they 
were not squeamish about modifying the tones to suit their 

Whistler's colour arrangements have almost nothing of the 
glorious complexity of the Venetians'; they are quite handsome, 
but one sees that this artist trifled with but a few hues at a time. 
His titles are descriptive of what he sought to do: Arrangeme?it 
in blue and gold; Arrangement in purple and rose; Nocturne 
— opal and silver. These are very lovely, but Whistler with- 

88 Vermeer 

out doubt avoided some of the difficult problems of colour 

Vermeer's conception of composing in colour was different 
from that held either by the Venetians or by Whistler. His ideal 
was to achieve a full chord of colour, with most of the available 
tones present and beautifully arranged. The originality of his 
accomplishment lay in the success with which he made each 
tone true. There is in his work no keying up of one colour, no 
muting of another colour, in the interest of harmony. He chose 
an arrangement which appealed to him and then painted it as 
it appeared to him. 

Most so-called colourists are in the habit of painting a 
colour note as it does not really appear in the hope that it 
will " go " well with the general colour scheme. Vermeer 
achieved the difficult arrangement of a group of colour tones 
each true to nature and beautiful in effect. He presumably was 
not conscious of being markedly different from his contem- 
poraries. He painted subjects similar to those of his national 
school. The basis of his technique, and especially his manner of 
laying in a picture, was what had been taught him by some 
competent master. Where he varied from the others was in his 
profound feeling for design, his intuition for colour values, his 
indifference to anecdotage, his bulldog way of hanging to a 
thing until it was thoroughly well done. 

VII • %Jermeer and Modern Tainting 



art " in a somewhat broader sense than when it connotes solely 
the expressionistic cults that have arisen since the advent of 
impressionism, one can safely say that Vermeer's influence over 
modern artists has been and is profound. Their preoccupation 
with pattern and the ideal, to use a favorite phrase of the late 
John LaFarge, has made them, almost one and all, ready to ap- 
preciate the Chinese and other oriental masters, and to be some- 
what contemptuous of the canons and conventions of classic 
European art. Vermeer's design, as is very apparent, was so mo- 
tivated as to appeal to those who find something supremely 
lovely in a Sung painting or a Korin screen. 

The chief difference of opinion, indeed, which can subsist 
among present-day painters regarding Vermeer concerns the 
degree of finish and " likeness " with which he invested his ad- 
mittedly fine pattern — concerns, in brief, his ideals of work- 
manship. There are, as is well known, in this century two 
markedly divergent schools or modes of thought in painting. 
One of these devotes itself to expression of quaint conceptions, 
or " evocations," of fancies and " inventions " done in a manner 
that may be, but not necessarily is, vaguely suggestive of nature. 
These painters have sometimes taken to themselves, or the lit- 
erary critics have taken it for them, the style of " modernists." 
Another group seeks to do essentially what Vermeer did: start- 
ing with an excellent design, to give to the elements of this the 
exact appearance of nature. To these latter artists, to those who in 
the argot of the studios endeavour to " make it like," Vermeer 

90 Vermeer 

is, naturally, the greatest of masters; his name, a rallying cry. To 
them his approach to his art, his point of view, seems altogether 
logical and right. They recognize that in his simple, and doubt- 
less unconscious, way, he met and solved the chief difficulties 
of the art of painting. 

Those who have explored the possibilities of combining 
sound pattern with competent representation, and who do not 
confuse " making it like " with cheap and meretricious realism, 
have reason, as they study Vermeer, to " rise up and call him 
blessed." True, his perception of colour values is hardly so acute 
as that of some who followed him. He had an intuition of colour 
rather than one of the well-thought-out methods which many 
painters now employ for their own guidance. He made up, 
nevertheless, for any lack of a consistent colour theory by look- 
ing at the thing before him so hard and so often that he came, in 
the end, to understand it. And what one understands one can 

One especially modern aspect of Vermeer's art is its avoid- 
ance of story-telling. There is, to be sure, in every one of his 
paintings, except the Studio, some anecdotal thread, but it is 
tenuous. Vermeer could hardly escape, in the Holland of his 
day, the necessity of seeming to offer his patrons a story, 
whether classical, religious or domestic. But it is clear that his 
anecdotal subject did not particularly entertain him, and that 
his artistic motive did greatly interest him. The design, the 
colour scheme, the rendering — all these engaged his attention 
and enthusiasm. 

This indifference to the literary quality of a painting was 
unusual, it hardly need be said, among the Netherland paint- 
ers. De Hooch, indeed, is almost the only other artist of 
Holland who seemed as neglectful as was Vermeer of anec- 
dote for the anecdote's sake. Jan Steen, Terborch and Metsu 

Vermeer and Modern Painting 91 

stressed their stories. Vermeer came as near to having his little 
figures do nothing at all as one well could, unless they sat with 
folded hands. A young girl reads a letter, writes one or receives 
it from the hand of a serving maid — that accounts for half a 
dozen of his pictures. A young woman plays with pearls about 
her neck, she opens a casement, she pours milk from a jug, she 
takes a glass of wine from a gallant's hand — these are the every- 
day stories conveyed in other paintings. In each one just enough 
anecdote is involved to amuse those who must have a story, but 
the intrigue of the subject is never so intricate or arresting as to 
endanger the effectiveness of the piece as a work of art. 

Vermeer thus is in favour with those who believe in art for 
art's sake. His painting served no literary, ecclesiastical or other 
propagandist cause. If a picture of his were not well made it 
would be just nothing at all. Being, as it is, superlatively made, 
it is one of the few flawless masterpieces. 

A conception of the value of impersonality in art, shared by 
some but not all modern painters, animated Jan Vermeer. His 
paintings are personal because made by a very great man; but 
the personality in them is a by-product. The artist did not seek 
to obtrude his personal equation. Hardly any modernist, hardly 
any so-called academician of the present age, has accomplished 
as nearly absolute an impersonality of technique as has Vermeer. 
In most paintings, by whomever made, one perceives the artist's 
liking for tricks of handling, his addiction to mannerisms. These 
latter often make the signature on a canvas unnecessary. Ver- 
meer, it is true, had marked mannerisms, but these are a product 
of his desire to record an aspect of nature, not to exhibit his 
technical brilliance. 

He was, indeed, almost Asiatic in his willingness to bestow 
endless labour upon the perfecting of minute details. He differs 
in this respect from practically all moderns of whatever school 

92 Vermeer 

— in the imperturbability, serenity and finish of his work. The 
modern painter may even be distrusted, and may distrust him- 
self, if he is not violent, perturbed, hasty in execution. Ver- 
meer's work is free from this spirit of unrest. He painted for 
about twenty years. His known product is of some two-score 
works; it is not certain that he produced many more. The paint- 
ings which he left are too patiently wrought, too carefully 
studied, to allow it to be supposed that they could have been 
turned out of the studio in rapid succession. They are carried 
further than anything that is done now. This, in fact, is where 
brilliant modern pieces, obviously inspired by Vermeer, may 
fail. They have an effectiveness like his, often much of his skill 
in arrangement; sometimes qualities which he lacked; but they 
do not have his patient finish, his well-nigh oriental serenity. 

Time, one is sure, could have had no significance for Ver- 
meer. He was a congener of Ralph Waldo Emerson's philoso- 
pher who perfected a walking stick. While the philosopher 
sought the stick the world came to an end. While he peeled the 
stick properly the solar system fell into the sun; and while he 
polished it as it should be polished the universe blew up; but 
Sir Philosopher had a perfect walking stick! 

Of like nature Vermeer's creative soul must have been. He 
had a passion for lightness of facture, and a knowledge and in- 
telligence which, added to his diligence, allowed him to attain 
to it in larger measure than others have done. His work, crit- 
ically observed, seems to be much more closely finished in essen- 
tial respects than that of the van Eycks, for example, who are 
popularly supposed to be miracles of elaboration. These and 
other " primitives," for all their hardness of execution, depended 
on obvious tricks of rendering. If they painted, let us say, the 
gold thread in some drapery, they ticked off the high lights all of 
the same value with a skilful touch, and quite without observa- 

Vl h:r 

i J latc 10 .pertur! md finish of his work. The 

modern painter may even be I may distrust him- 

\ecution. Ver- 

painted for 


self, if he is not violent, pert 
er's work is free from tb 
ut twenty years. His 

t hepr 
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studied, to all 
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{Text on Page 195] 

Vermeer and Modern Painting 93 

tion of what they actually could have seen and recorded. When 
Vermeer painted a sleeve shot with gold thread the value, shape 
and edge of each touch was set forth as the result of a separate 
intellectual effort. 

Vermeer's finish, then — and the term is used without mean- 
ing smoothness, though highly finished things ordinarily are 
smooth — was far beyond anything that is arrived at today. The 
painter of this century sees dimly how Vermeer did it, but he 
is unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices of time and mind. 

Some regard this perfection of finish in the spirit of that rich 
young man in Holy Writ who asked what he should do to be 
saved, but who, when told to sell all and follow Christ, " went 
away very sorrowful." Others are not even sorrowful; they 
pretend that they do not think finish worth while — they dis- 
close that for them the grapes are sour. 

However his technical qualities may be evaluated, whether 
for imitation, general admiration or disdain, Vermeer remains, 
in the classification of artists of history, the Sphinx that Theo- 
phile Thore called him. It is not only the mystery of his life that 
one cannot penetrate; one cannot penetrate very far into the 
mystery of his art. In the soul of the man persisted this extraor- 
dinary genius, so different from the genius of other men; a 
genius that did not reveal itself by painting impossibilities or 
ruffling it with the night watch, but that showed itself in an 
acuteness of observation which made him see more truly than 
other artists of his time could see. And with that went some- 
thing more: an appreciation of the rightness of things, in line, 
in colour and in form; and a unique passion for colour, per- 
sonally preferred — colder and more aesthetic than that of 
other men. 

It can be supposed that Vermeer died with his secret 
undiscovered by his artist and lay contemporaries — except 

94 Vermeer 

that people in a puzzled way liked his pictures for, as they sup- 
posed, the perfection of the technique. 

And, as the French say, when one is dead, it is for a long 
time. Certainly it was so for him, even for his fame. Yet if, 
somewhere, in no-man's land, a pallid ghost — Vermeer yclept 
— should chance to linger; if he thinks at all of the little do- 
ings of this earth, it perhaps comes not amiss to him that the per- 
fection of his work, rather than any praise of men, did in the 
end bring these works to their own. To an artist there is peculiar 
satisfaction in forcing recognition by the sheer merit of his 
handiwork. Certainly with Vermeer this has come about; for by 
his works we know him. 

Plate 1 1 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

(Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 19 13) 

[ Text on Page in] 



Jan Vermeer of Delft 


Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

(Bequest of CollisP. Huntington, 1925) 

[Text on Page 113] 


l 3 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 
(Bequest of Colonel Michael Friedsam, 193 1) 

[Text on Page 115] 

Plate 14 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Morgan Collection, New York 

[Text on Page 118] 

Vlate 15 

[Text on Page 1 19] 

Flate i 6 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 



Frick Collection, New York 

[Text on Page 121] 

Vlate 17 






I I II MAP SHOWN ON THE WALL IN The Soldier and the Laughing Girl 

Frick Collection, New York 

This reproduction is made from a double-page map (in the possession of 
Ralph T. Hale of Winchester, Massachusetts), taken from a Blaeu atlas printed 
at Amsterdam in [641. As will be readily observed, west is at the top of the 
map. The wall-map shown in Yermeer's painting was a larger engraving sub- 
stantially from the same original and in addition to its map-sticks has a legend 
at the top and cartouches along the other sides. 

[Text on Page 123I 

Vlate 1 8 

fan Vermeer of Delft 

Frick Collection, New York 

[Text on Page 123] 

Vlate 19 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


also called THE ASTRONOMER 

Collection of E. John Magnin, New York 

[Text on l\ii^c 125] 

Plate 20 

Attributed by some critics to ]an Vermeer of Delft 

Bache Collection, New York 

[Text on Page 130] 

Vlate 21 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Bache Collection, New York 

[Text on Page 131] 

Plate 22 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 



Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable 

Trust, Washington 

[Text on Page 132] 

Vlate 23 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


also known as HEAD OF A YOUNG GIRL 

Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable 

Trust, Washington 

[Text on Page 134] 

Pi ate 24 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


Collection of The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable 

Trust, Washington 

[Text on Page 135] 

Vlate 25 

}an Vermeer o\ Delft 

Isabella Stewam Gardner Museum, Boston 

/ rt on Page 136] 

Plate 26 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Edwards, Cincinnati 

[Text on Page 139] 

Plate 27 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


sometimes called A WOMAN WEIGHING PEARLS 

Widen er Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia 

[Text on Page 140] 

Plate 28 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Widener Collection, Elkixs Park, near Philadelphia 

[Text on Page 143] 

Plate 29 

Attributed by so/tie critics to Jjii Vermeer <>\ Delft 


Tin John G. Johnson Art Colli ctiox, Philadelphia 

[Text on Page 144] 

Vlate 30 

]an Vermeer of Delft 


also known as THE LUTE PLAYER 

Iveagh Bequest, Ken Wood, Highgate, London 

[Text on Page 147] 

Plate 31 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery, London 

[Text on Page 154] 

Plate 32 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery, London 

[Text on Page 156] 

Vlate 33 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 



Beit Collection, London 

[Text on Page 158] 

Plate 34 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Beit Collection, London 

[Text on Page 159] 

Plate 35 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 


(possibly a portrait of Simon Decker) 

Collection of Ernest W. Savory, Bristol, England 

[Text on I\tjc 160] 

Vlate 36 

. . noloryi ^c. 



[Text on Page 160] 

Vlate 37 

jan Vermeer of Delft 


Formerly in the Collection of Charles E. Carrlthers, Batheaston, 

Somerset, Engi vnd; in the possession of Anthony F. Revre, London 

[Text on Page 162I 

Plate 38 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 

[Text on Page 163] 

Plate 39 

Bernardo Cavallino (1622-1654) 

Museum of Naples 

[Text on Page 164] 

Vlctte 40 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 

[Text on Page 171] 

Vlate 41 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Arenberg Collection, Brussels 

[Text on Page 182] 

Plate 42 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft; now generally attributed to 

Nicolaes Maes 

Museum of Art, Brussels 

[Text 011 Page 183] 

Vlate 43 



I iV_ 

ffl Vfl&S 


1 > 


■ !■ 


■ IH 

B^lfii V' *»-" 



|J 1, 

i 1 

^H B 

_ . ■z-^^-mj^" v; 



Pieter de Hooch 


Wallace Collection, London 

[Text on Page 184] 

Plate 44 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


The Louvre, Paris 

[Text on Page 184] 

Plate 45 

Jan Vermeer o] Delft 


Rothschild Coi l i ction, Paris 

I Text on Page iKrtl 

Plate 46 

[Text on Page 189] 

Vlate 47 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 



Brunswick Gallery 

[Text on Page 190] 

Plate 48 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


also called THE PROCURESS, sometimes known as SCENE IN 


State Picture Gallery, Dresden 

[Text 011 Page 193] 

Vlate 49 

Jan Verviecr of Delft 

Stadel Art Institute, Frankfort 

[Text oil Page 197] 

Plate 50 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 


sometimes called PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST 

Collection of Count Czernin, Vienna 

[Text on Page zoo] 

Vlate 51 

Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Museum of Fine Aims, Buda-Pesth 

[Text 011 Page 204] 

Plate 52 



Carel Fabritius 


Royal Gallery of Paintings, The Mauritshuis, The Hague 

[Text on Page 60] 

Plate 53 

> ~ Si, 

" £ '3 

a 3 c cus c 
5 O - 1 a xS. 
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— • 



[7V.« o// Ptfge 219] 

Plate 54 


Cjl*hg*f van Scbilitrym. 

. . . . 

C A T A I. G U S 

\ •. '.' 


< if ' m. 

1 t*Kii JuffrottW die RouJ wcc^i , m cwn kaije 
JL/ *an ]. vandcr Heer ^n Delft .cvtnorduucr 
Lonftincn krapif RcfchiKK-it. in ■ 

2 Eell Mcyd die M.-l* m^icl , . --. mi ■ 
»uiduo. i;j 

3 *i Portrait van Vcrmccr m ceo Kamcr met ver 
fchcy Jc bywerfc onguncco fraai van hem gefeb - 
den. 4J 

4 Ken fpcclcode Tuffrouw op ccn Cuicecr , he . ! 
£oei v^n den zcrvc. 70 • a 

5 !>jtr ccn Seipacur zyn haDtic^ »af\, inecodoo'- 
iitfnJt. karacr, met bceldcn , kontlig en net vaa 
dito. 9$ - 

6 En fpccteoJc J^ffrouw nj> dc Oaxcambae! 
cen Kjmcf , met cmtoeluiltc.'cnj Muoiicur tfoei 
den ictvcflu do ■ e 

7 Ken Juffiouw dtc door ceo Mcyd cvn brvcf gc 
brant word, vu d*tu. ;o • 

8 Ecn dronkc ftapeode Mcyd sen cm Tafcl, \ 
den zetvea. na • 

o Bos vroMc g i M lt ny is oca Kimcr , k 

gOCt \*n duo- 73 - u 

lo Eeo Muficrrcnde Moaft , co Juffr. io ccn Kaon, 
van den zcivco. 31 . <> 

It Een Soldaei met ccn UsRca Mrwjc, tecr fad 
van dato. u . in 

Citttilvgus 'jw Stbudcryen. Jf 

; Ecn JuiVcrtjc dat fpcldcwcrkt , van den . 

I IX-Oude Krrk 'i Amftcrdam , konli.g vai 

nucldcWii. ■ • 

1 •tCrafvandcoudcPfinscoi Delft, van dcti.-i^ea 
ja - • 
; Nog een Kerk van duo. S* " * 

i Ben JuSeaje van Nctfcher, zyn befle 'rant 

r Ecn Vrftiwrje dac naait van Gerard tcr ^ a, fc* 

dc nude Piitru. 
I Ecn Gcfcldlchap van Cerarda, bed u>;\oofc 

> Ecn Zcdnven van Adam Pynakker. 4: • • 
1 Bidden van Andrics Both. • 

; Een Triumfwagen van dc vier getydeo van \ Ja* 

in ecn Landfcoap, dco aart van Poufin. £1 ■ • 
\ Esq gefelfchap van drie Pcrfbaccn van Gcnmf 

Tcrburgh. W - • 

\ Baczeba van Jacob de Loo. 104 ■ • 

I Chriftoffel van Snatijotet. 13 - • 

J Een Grot met Bccldcncn Bcciken van P. dc Laat 

randen) Bamboots, 104 • • 

1 Daerrc na dc Jachi pen door dcnzrlven . TO • 
! Pomona en Virtumu-t van Argons toe Raroen gab 

fchildcrt. 17 - if) 

) Venus met Kindcnjc* van diw. »i - 

3 Ecn kaliauu Barbiercjc van denzclven. 42 - 
I Dc Stail Delft m pcTfpeAief , re ncn van d| 

Zurd-zy , door J. vandeTMeer van Detft. 300 • • 
i Fen Gcticht ran eeo Hdys ftaende in Detft, doo* 

denaelvcn. 71-10 

1 Ecn Gefichc \«a eemge Huyfen no d?». *,$ ■ 9 

C a 35 Ecu 

56 Calalogus "^m SstiUrryn. 

37 Een Schryvcndc Jufiwuw hed goct v»o dense?-- 
ven. *3 * J 

30" Een Paiccrcnde dito, foer fracy vandito. 30 - a 
37 Een SncclcnJc luffrojw np dc ClavccintacI van 
J duo. 4* • » 

& Ecn Tronic in Aotiquc KlcJcren > oogrmeco 
konflig. 3* * •/ 

39 Nog ccn dito Vcrmccr. 17 - o> 

40 Ecn wccTga van denzchen. I? * ° 
4r Fen croot Laodlchap van Siraon dc \Htcgcr ? tjti 

alderbefte. a* - o 

4a Een klevnder van deorcrven. ys • r> 

43 Wop cen van dito. 30 • o 

4^ Nog ccn grootcr van dito. 37 ■ J 

43 Ecn Tronic van Rcmbranr. 7 ■ T 

4« Ecn Gei.'fLIing Chnlb op 5teen <.sa Albano, or*- 

gemcen goer. 31-0 

47 Ecn St. Jias Oothoofding op Stccn , van Donu- 

njchino^ ao - o 

43 Andromeda met veel Becldeo van Gafparo Cclio. 

40 • o 

40 David met 'c Hooft van Goliad, den trant van 

P. Veronese. o • u> 

50 "c Portrait van Eraiinus van Rotterdam van A. 

B. Duur. is • o 

5' Ecn Tronic van Holbcco. »5 ■ o 

ja Ecn Storende Sanrio van Raphael V'ani. ia • o 

53 Twee Italiacnfchc I-andrchappcn *an Gafpar 
PoufTm. 46 • o 

54 Twee dito van denzciven. 64 - o 
jj Twee ltaliaenfchc Landrchapjes. 4 • S 
j6 Vter Waccrvcrare van Cafparua Wad, Gefichtt 

tot Romcn. ^g . 10 

57 Eeo groot kapitael Oak , zyndc Diana met haar 


Citahgus van ScOMayo, 


Nimphcn, EcrtM proot, dotir dc Yo*. %t . o 
) Ecn Landfcbap met Bccftea *an Rocland Savry. 

44 ■ o 
j Een Dilmium of Z-andvIoct van Jordacns.oa • o 
j Kcltonncn van Vruchtcn en Blucmvn van dc Ring. 

51 - 10 
1 Een I-andfchap \an Moucheron dc Oudc. 40-0 
I Ecn dito wat klcyndcr on denzciven. 40 - O 
) Ecn kapttacl iiuk ^ an Jan Sicca , dc Koning drinki. 

fii EceBarbicKvY . ' ndenz ' 

cj Ecu Hocrhuy^c van dim, 

66 Eeo Gcfrldfchapjc van Oflade. 

6; FacrdjcJ en Bccldjci \1ii Pbiiip VV 

12K ■ 

i Ecnigc Vruchtcn vanGuilj-.Imo van Ac til. 22 - to 
i Car* van Etnanu*.! dc Wit. 31 • a 

> Ecn I\kuw en uden Vogdi mi M. dc llon- 
dekocccr, no - o 

1 Ecn ivccrga van denzclven. 80 • 6 

» Ecn bracffjindfchapvan Jacob ElTclcns. 40 - o 
I Een Uttlisenfeh Zcehaventjc van C10 Ilapriira 
Wcninx. art - 10 

\ Ecn kapstacl I^ndfchap \ar Moacbcron.45 - o 
f Viflbtjcain ccc Umlfchap van K:rcl da G rJ>r>. 

28 - IO 

; Si [an OnthoofJing \w Fabrlchis. ?o - o 
I Dc drie Koningen van Da\ id Tctucrs. 29 • o 
i N'ogccnvan dcnzclvco. 33*- ° 

> Venus en Adonis van Jordacns. J3 - ° 
3 De Bruy loft van Cana.opccn kopcre plaet donr 

\ r ..ii Balcn. 48 - o 

1 £co Grot met EecMen vao Thomas \Vy T *.ji - •> 

C 3 F*- Eea 

MAY 16, 1696 

At this sale twenty-one paintings by Vermeer were sold. The Vermeer items are 
Nos. 1 to 12 inclusive and 31 to 40 inclusive; for some reason, possibly the typesetter's 
error, no No. 34 is given. The list was published in Volume I, pp. 34-40, of Gerard 
Hoet's " Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schildcryen," two volumes, The Hague, 1752. 
From the copy in the Library of Congress, Washington 

[Text 011 Pages 97-102] 

Plate 55 

■ ■■ 

35 Ct .- uaiiiiAcjw. 

83 Era cuncua Undferup van dc Oadc K«TPer. 

25 Antomut en Cltopairl vn Jin S:ccn. >i - • 
Sj T«ec Baacn van Mano dc Fiati. ' ■ 10 
8) Twee dxo >«o d.n/xivcn. 
IS Vneba wn CwpUalio. '1 • " 

>, IJlrll.ceteri tan Murteljc. " ■ 'I 

nEcBJ^BseHfains M«bt« w ' ' 

MEaitDiBtad.a *>■ » 

^ Ecaijc Bsehka a tea Uniulup BaiW 

51 Proroethcua van ten luliamfch Mccflcr. ft 

S : Actuilw in dco Teasel «■» *" ab • « 

93 Em Ttwk van C •!■> Cattail 1 - • J 

j,' Dc llcrnclvacrt Maria, van \ '»Zaaf), J* • " 

j,j Ecn Hirtoric uvt dc TilTic am Influx IS - 3 
S/5 Lcnice Bccldea cnbccilcnvia .Nicolin LVrgbcm 

tf ■ o 

97 Eca dito van Adnacn van dc Vddc ?o • o 

M Fxn LanJkhc" van Jin Lieveatc JcOmk. l> • ij 

yi Een duo van Picmuot en llucbrcnbuxg. 40 • q 
joo Ecn Blivcm in c.n LanJ:'tSap van Molyn 

:a - n 

jai Ken Zee :n PcTccHia. V • 10 
j,i Eenl 1 f.nan vandcOudc Jljcvcnfc. I* 
a. 3 1 VlDUwejc tii C*«.rl'pel van 

ioi Ecn Lndlehap *an Vaodcr Ajl 1 

1C5 Etn kerlic \aa dc Vov. 4 

u© Ecm^ btcWics van Yandex Vianc. 3 

117 Ecnigc JkcUjL* op Marnier gcCchildert. o 

101 Ken ijndlclupr: van Jacob kUytial. 3 
up Ecn dko v-n dc Ojdc lioodckocter. 

&.-<!*£»/ MB &«iitT)CC. 34 

! 10 Sea IcaliaenfcU Uruggttjc. 3 . 3 

1 1! her * jr, Mo!vn. j . ij 

1 1 : Ecn m dc EhJwvelc Brvuccl. « - a 

113 tcnigc Vogtla cd l-andft.'iap ice. van lJcgyn. 

•T- a 

114 Broke Yruchrcn en ft. I 1-ccvvn by ecn Moor, 
van JiorjacB ,an Scroefc /\n bent'- 36-10 

llj Ecn g.rooi fbj', /\ndc den Darn en 'c Sudhuyt 

&.C. van Van KelTcl , dc Becldco van Abraham 

S:..r^ 11. j - o 

114 Ecn Blocmpot van Efiai van dco BrccL. 

3j - a 

117 Ken duo van denrclven. 31 • o 

1 1 Leal Ocl'cldfchap van Jacob Torcnvijet. 24 • o 

110 Ken School , ryndc ecn weeraa van dcraxHrat 

23 - 10 
ISO Ken l.icvc Vrouw m« ecn Kinrjc. 4 - ij 
i;i Dc rJcRkn bootfthap , van Jacomo ffaiTw 

II - a 
HB Andromeda van f'alau. le - e 

1:3 Vcnu* en Akloniwn Titiaea. 11 - • 

114 Twee luiiaecjc Ironic van JacoaaoTnuarct. 

*» " •- 

1 : j Nog rwee dno brave Tronic. 6 - a 

130 Ecn Autacr ftuljc, bet I curicua \aj Coraelit 

Enfclbrccrufr. to • 

1:? Ecn Horuaii van roeJcnburgb, van B. Vcrelfl. 

24 - 10 
la8 Ecn landfch-^ \an ricmont. Of '• o 
jao Ecn ditu *an Moatlition dc Jonaje 33- © 

130 Vccru* van Ayala. 5 - 10 

131 Deoyocryt en Heradyt van drto. 0-10 

132 Ecn I'bilofooph van Jtruelttn. 4 . • 

11: Era 



CatdaaYatf C'Ti: .^Ariirryrii. 

-KRd t*fS.eldcnde dc V 
13, Ben Undfchapjc van I ■ 

c A I A I. <> 1. I 

-3 Een MacRd ..rbtelJcnJc dc li I I ! 
van K A 

.'ft SO" S 


V;r. llcnrifiul'oru. • ' '-■ 

in JinJIaJarn. 

1 /-<l!iil1u>acn'r K.uv wiTcn 
Ls lanCircl dn Gardin.ongcmecil lunil.gcn 

,.r I :::.■> IDjel ".;■>. aOHBlg 

en cott. 

3 Ecn duo PleifterpUeta van d«o, 

vjn deoiclfdeD --" J 

4 Ken HcmcKaerd ChriOi, keel goo van rhslir, 

W ...imm. I 10 ' ° 

j IU;n Pflxunje van dezclve. 1S0 ■ o 

6 EmScbermurfcling tan dn.'. e» ■ « 


B :':cn van Baanlixn.. 117 - o 

UnJtthjp met Bccilcn van Crabbeijc. 

101 • 

10 'I Bad * " ( lifte va ' icob van law. T3 ■ o 

. :U!-.. in ■ n 

Pages 38, 39 and 40 of Volume 1 of Gerard Hoet's " Cata- 
logus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen," completing the list of 
the pictures sold at Amsterdam May 16, 1696. 
[Text on Pages 97-102] 

(left) From an aquarelle in the town 
museum, Delft, painted prior to 1876. 
View from the marketplace, looking 
north through the Oudemanshuis- 
steeg. At the left was the house where 
Vermeer was born (torn down, 1884) 
and in the background, on the Vol- 
dersgracht, was the Guild of St. Luke 
(torn down, 1876). 

The illustration at right shows 
Oudemanshuissteeg in 1936. Ver- 
meer's birthplace occupied what is 

now the left half of the street. In the background is a town 


The Ancient and the Present Oudemanshuissteeg 

The Town Hall of Delft 
Taken from a point beside the New 
Church across the marketplace 

On the steps of the Delft town hall 

The shop of Mr. T. H. v.d. Aleer, 

optician, on the north side of the mar- 
ketplace, at the next corner west of 
the Oudemanshuissteeg (lefi) 

The Voldersgracht (right^ 
The second bridge leads from the 

DELFT IN .936 

Xo. 25 Olde Langendijk (left) 
\'crnieer's home, where he died in 

1675, at the corner of the little narrow 


Mantelpiece in the Kitchen of 25 
Oude Langendijk (rigl:t> 
The tiling is modern; the mantel- 
piece is said to be of Yermeer's day 

The Ocde Langendijk 
across the street from No. 25 


This modern street is east of the 
Singel Gracht; farther north is Rem- 

Looking east along the Oude Lan- 
gendijk, from Wijnhaven {left) 

Tlie house with the awning is that 
in which Yermeer's widow died, on 
the Verwersdijk. On the right is the 
office of the Delft Courant. {right) 

DELFT IX 1936 

The New Church 
where Vermecr was baptised Octo- 
ber 31, 1632. At the left is seen a 
corner of the town hall (left) 

The Old Church 
where Vermeer is buried. Note the 
leaning tower (right) 

The 1936 view of Delft, taken from 
the point from which Vermeer 
painted his View of Delft 

Looking across the Singel Gracht to 
the spot from which Vermeer painted 
his View of Delft 

The House of Mr. W. Bresser 
(Koster of the Lutheran Church), 
an example of the domestic architec- 
ture of Vermeer's dav (right) 

The Oost Poort 

In the background at the right are 
the towers of the Old Church and the 
New Church (left) 

DELFT IN 1936 

Pan II 

His Works 

I • ^Uermeers Taintings 

JLn the years immediately following Vermeer's death several 
of his paintings were mentioned in three separate records. In 
1677, twenty-six works, belonging to his estate, were for sale; 
they were so offered by Joh. Columbier, believed to be Johannes 
Coelenbier, art dealer and painter, of Haarlem. Five years later, 
in 1682, nineteen Vermeer pictures were left by the bookseller, 
printer and publisher, Jacobus Abramse Dissius, at Delft, a 
member of the Guild of St. Luke, to which he had been ad- 
mitted only two years earlier. Fourteen years later occurred at 
Amsterdam, May 16, 1696, an anonymous auction sale of 150 
paintings by various artists among which twenty-one by Jan 
Vermeer of Delft were listed with descriptive titles. This list is 
contained in the " Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen," 
Gerard Hoet, The Hague, 1752, and is reproduced herewith 
from photostats {Plates 53 and 54) . The appended translations 
of the descriptive phrases are quoted from previous publications 
concerning Vermeer; they are in some instances rendered rather 

This 1696 list of Vermeer paintings is very important as it 
sometimes adds documentary evidence to technical reasons for 
believing a work to be by Vermeer. At least as many as fifteen, 
and possibly eighteen or nineteen of the twenty-one items listed 
have been with some reason supposed to be among the recog- 
nized Vermeers. 

The Amsterdam sale catalogue gives the subjects and in some 
cases brief comments, with the prices in florins. These prices 
are given below with their literal translation into pre-war 

98 Vermeer 

American dollars; it must, however, be borne in mind that the 
purchasing power of a florin in seventeenth century Nether- 
lands was much higher than it has become in the twentieth cen- 
tury. Throughout this book the words " florin " and " gulden " 
are used interchangeably. 

Vermeer's Paintings of the 1696 Sale 

1 Een Juffrouw die goud weegt, in een Kasje van J. vander 
Meer van Delft, extraordinaer Konstig en Kragtig geschildert 


1. A Woman Weighing Gold: " in a case, painted in an ex- 
traordinarily skilful and strong manner," 155 florins ($62). 
No. 10 in Hofstede de Groot's Catalogue Raisonne. In Wide- 
ner Collection. 

2 Een Meyd die Melk uytgiet, uytnemende goet van dito 


2. A Maid-Servant Touring out Milk: " exceedingly good," 
175 florins ($70). H. de G. 17. Rijks Museum. 

3 't Portrait van Vermeer in een Kamer met verscheyde 
bywerk ongemeen fraai van hem geschildert 45~o 

3. The Portrait of Vermeer: " in a room with rich acces- 
sories painted in an unusually fine style," 45 florins ($18). As- 
sumed by many authorities to be the picture commonly called 
A Painter's Studio, or The Artist's Studio, of the Czernin Col- 

4 Een speelende Juffrouw op een Guiteer, heel goet van den- 
zelve 70-0 

4. A Lady Playing the Guitar: " very well painted," 70 
florins ($28). H. de G. 26. Paintings of this subject in the John- 

Vermeer's Paintings 99 

son Collection, Philadelphia, and the Iveagh Collection, Lon- 
don, have been mentioned as possibly this picture. 

5 Daer een Seigneur zyn handen wast, in een doorsiende 
Kamer, met Beelden, konstig en raer van dito 95~o 

5. An Interior: " a gentleman washing his hands, with a vista 
and figures, painted in a skilful and unusual style," 95 florins 
($38). H. de G. 21. Undiscovered. 

6 Een speelende Juffrouw op de Clavecimbael in een Kamer, 
met een tocluisterend Monsieur door den zelven 80-0 

6. An Interior: " with a lady at the virginals and a gentleman 
listening," 80 florins ($32). H. de G. 28. Possibly the so-called 
Windsor Vermeer, of the British Royal Collection, hung some- 
times at Windsor Castle and sometimes at Buckingham Palace. 

7 Een Juffrouw die door een Meyd een brief gebragt word, 
van dito 70-0 

7. A Lady to ivhom a Maid-Servant is bringing a Letter: 
70 florins ($28). H. de G. 32. This could be the one in the Rijks 
Museum or the one now in the Frick Collection, New York 
(formerly of the Simon Collection, Berlin). 

8 Een dronke Slapende Meyd aen een Tafel, van den zel- 
ven 62-0 

8. A Drunken Maid-Servant Asleep beh'md a Table: 6z flor- 
ins ($24.60). H. de G. 48. Probably the Metropolitan Museum 
painting, from the Altman Collection. 

9 Een vrolik geselchap in een Kamer, kragtig en goet van 
dito 73— o 

9. An Interior ivith Revellers: " well painted in a strong 
manner," 73 florins ($29.20). Undiscovered, unless it should be 
the Courtesan or the Brunswick Coquette. 

ioo Vermeer 

io Een Musicerende Monsr. en JurTr. in een Kamer van den 
zelven 81-0 

10. An Interior: "with a gentleman making music, and a 
lady," 81 florins ($32.40). H. de G. 30. Undiscovered. 

1 1 Een Soldaet met een laggent Meysje, zeer fraei van dito 


1 1 . A Soldier with a laughing Girl: " very fine," 44 Vi florins 
($17.60). H. de G. 39. Frick Collection, New York. 

12 Een Juffertje dat speldewerht, van den zelven 28-0 

12. A Girl Making Lace: 28 florins ($11.20). H. de G. 11. 
Some have conjectured this to be the Lace Maker of the Louvre. 
It could be the one in the Mellon Collection, Washington. 

(At this point the catalogue begins to list paintings by Eman- 
uel de Witte, Terborch, Netscher, Jacob van Loo and others; 
it resumes with the list of works by Vermeer as follows: ) 

31 De Stad Delft in perspectief, te sien van de Zuyd-zy, 
door J. vander Meer van Delft 200-0 

31. A View of Delft from the South: 200 florins ($80). 
H. de G. 48. Mauritshuis, The Hague. 

32 Een Gesicht van een Huys staende in Delft, door den- 
zelven 72-10 

32. A View of a House in Delft: 72 Vi florins ($29). H. de 
G. 47. Rijks Museum (formerly in Six Collection, Amster- 

3 3 Een Gesicht van eenige Huysen van dito 48-0 

33. A View of Some Houses: 48 florins ($19.20). H. de G. 
49. Undiscovered. 

Vermeer's Paintings ioi 

For some reason unknown, probably a typographical 
error, there is no No. 34 in the Catalogue. 

35 Een Schiyvende JufTrouw heel goet van denzelven 63-0 

35. A Lady Writing: "very well painted," 63 florins 
($25.20). H. de G. 35. Possibly in the Beit Collection, London, 
or it could be H. de G. 36, in the Morgan Collection, New 

36 Een Paleerende dito, seer fraey van dito 30-0 

36. A Lady Adorning Herself: 30 florins ($12). H. de G. 
20. Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin. 

37 En speelende JurTrouw op de Clavecimbael van dito 


37. A Lady Playing a Spinet: 42 florins ($16.80). H. de G. 
23, 24 or 25. National Gallery, if 23 or 25; if 24, Beit Collec- 

38 Een Tronie in Antique Klederen, ongemeen konstig 


38. A Portrait in an Antique Costume: " painted in an un- 
usual and skilful manner," 36 florins ($14.40). H. de G. 44. 
Generally identified as Portrait of a Young Girl, Mauritshuis, 
The Hague. 

39 Nog een dito Vermeer 17-0 

39. A like picture, also by Vermeer: 17 florins ($6.80). Be- 
lieved by some authorities to be the one in the Arenberg Col- 
lection, Brussels. 

40 Een weerga van denzelven 17-0 

40. A similar picture, by him: 17 florins ($6.80). By some 

102 Vermeer 

thought to be The Smiling Girl, Mellon Collection, Wash- 

Comments on Paintings of the 1696 list and 
others that have been attributed to vermeer 

Several interesting circumstances that concern Vermeer's 
standing in the Netherlands of his own day emerge from study 
of the accompanying pages of the Hoet Catalogue which con- 
tain 1 3 3 items comprising 1 50 pictures. At this sale, twenty-one 
years after his death, his paintings significantly headed a list 
in which he was in, certainly, very distinguished company. Of 
nine pictures which brought prices in excess of one hundred 
florins, three were by Vermeer and two of these three — A 
View of Delft and the Milkwoman — were the highest priced 
at the sale. The average price of the Vermeers was more than 
seventy florins and these were the only pictures in the sale 
which were in any way specially described. 

Comparison of the prices of the Vermeer paintings with 
those of works attributed to celebrated Italian, German and 
French masters shows that the latter must have been less highly 
esteemed in Holland than was the " Sphinx of Delft." Thus 
three portraits, listed as by Tintoretto, were sold together for 
twenty-four florins; a Venus and Adonis, ascribed to Titian, 
brought only twenty-two florins; a Holbein portrait was auc- 
tioned at twenty-six florins; three Poussins, together, for forty- 
six florins and another Poussin trio for sixty-four florins. While 
the Netherlanders who attended this sale evinced, in general, 
a higher regard for their own national painters than for for- 
eigners, some of the prices at which works by Dutch contem- 
poraries of Vermeer were sold seem surprisingly low. A Rem- 
brandt portrait brought only seven and one-half florins: a work 

Vermeer's Paintings 103 

by Fabritius, his pupil and possibly Vermeer's master, was 
thought worth twenty florins, but one by Leonard Bramer, also 
thought by some to have taught Vermeer, brought only two 
and a quarter florins. Several of the contemporary Holland 
painters, on the other hand, were represented by items for 
which collectors paid more than one hundred florins, as Jan 
Steen, d'Hondekoeter and van Loo. It is readily concluded 
from study of the complete list, here perhaps for the first time 
since its original publication made easily available to the student 
of Dutch painting, that in 1696 Vermeer, represented at this 
sale by more pictures than any other painter, was not yet a 
victim of the oblivion which almost obliterated his name and 
fame a little later. It still appears anomalous that Houbraken, 
publishing his book on Dutch painters only twenty-three years 
later, in this same city of Amsterdam, failed even to mention 
Jan Vermeer of Delft. 

The association in the Catalogue of the names of Delft paint- 
ers who were contemporary with Vermeer adds to the evi- 
dence of his high standing among them. Works by Leonard 
Bramer, Fabritius, Terborch, De Wit, Netscher, Jan Steen and 
others were in the sale; none of these left in the record any such 
proof of national popularity as is afforded by the number, posi- 
tion in the list and valuations of the Vermeers. 

Discoveries of paintings which some one would like to at- 
tribute to Vermeer of Delft are announced from time to time. 
Such " finds " were naturally quite frequently heralded in the 
years between the end of the World War and the oncoming 
of the depression of 1929, for in that era many works of art 
ascribed to celebrated old masters were sold to American men 
of wealth at fabulously high prices. Because of his vogue among 
collectors the market value of a work that confidently could 

1 04 Vermeer 

be attributed to Vermeer became tremendous — a circumstance 
which naturally intensified the search for paintings that might 
by any authority be given to Vermeer. 

It would be difficult, and hardly worth while, to describe in 
detail all the paintings which collectors and art dealers, some- 
times after authentication by an " authority," have declared to 
be by Vermeer, but which have seemed, upon later and perhaps 
more disinterested examination, to be the work of lesser or un- 
known artists. This situation will presumably continue. It is 
well for those who appreciate Vermeer's work for its intrinsic 
worth to be slow to accept new attributions, however cleverly 
supported, since all the trustworthy evidence indicates that the 
number of paintings from Vermeer's hand could not have been 
large. " Discoveries," for that reason if for no other, must face 
a presumption of reasonable doubt, which can be resolved only 
by very strong evidence in their favor, documentary or internal, 
or preferably both. 

In the chapter to follow, paintings definitely known or gen- 
erally and without question accepted as the work of Jan Ver- 
meer of Delft are given, with detailed descriptions of their con- 
tent, and such analysis and comment as have seemed important 
to an artist critic; and in addition other paintings are described 
the absolute certainty of the attribution of which to Vermeer 
can be challenged as at least doubtful. 

Vermeer's supreme artistic achievements comprise a period 
of little more than ten years, if one accepts the tentative chro- 
nology of his works proposed by Dr. W. R. Valentiner in his 
Pantheon, October, 1932, article: "Vermeer and the Masters 
of Dutch Genre Painting." This generalization is apparently 
supported by a statement attributed to Vermeer's wife, that the 
artist painted but little during his last years. 

This chronology discards the principle of " stylistic con- 

Vermeer's Paintings 105 

sonances," from which other writers have reasoned, and builds 
itself upon " the help of dated or datable pictures painted by 
artists who were subject to Vermeer's influence." Several of 
the datings urged by Dr. Valentiner appear in the discussions 
of individual works, to follow. 


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i. Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (Edinburgh) ; 
2. Girl Reading a Letter (Dresden); 3. The Courtesan 
(Dresden); 4. View of Delft (The Hague); 5. Little 
Street in Delft (Amsterdam); 6. A Girl Asleep (Metro- 
politan Museum); 7. The Coquette (Brunswick); 8. The 
Pearl Necklace (Berlin); 9. The Lace Maker (Louvre); 
10. Young Lady at the Virginals (National Gallery, Lon- 
don); 11. Head of a Young Girl (The Hague); 12. Por- 
trait of a Young Girl (Arenberg Collection, Brussels); 
13. The Astronomer (Frankfort); 14. The Artist's Stu- 
dio (Vienna); 15. A Young Lady Seated at the Spinet 
(National Gallery, London); 16. The Love Letter (Am- 

(Reproduced from Oud-Holland, 1920) 

II • JL Catalogue l^aisonne of Known Works of 
Jan (r Uermeer of T)elft and of Certain Other 
Paintings Sometimes Attributed to Him 

A Young Woman Opening a Casement 
also called A Young Woman 'with a Water Jug 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

A Plate i 

young woman, with white kerchief and large collar over 
a yellow jacket with blue trimming and a blue skirt, stands near 
a casement window, which she opens with the right hand. Her 
left hand holds a brass pitcher on a salver, the latter resting on a 
table that is covered with a variegated rug. The wall is of 
the grey tone which Vermeer often painted and on it, to the 
woman's left, is a tawny map. A lion-headed chair is behind the 
table, and a yellow jewel box is at the right of the table. 

Canvas, 1 8 inches by 1 6 inches. 

This painting formerly belonged to the seventh Viscount 
Powerscourt. It was bought from Lord Powerscourt by Bour- 
geois Freres, Paris dealers. It was purchased through Pillet, a 
Paris dealer, in 1887, by Henry G. Marquand of New York, 
and in 1888 given by him to the Metropolitan Museum. Mr. 
Marquand was one of the original committee of fifty which in 
1869 began the movement that resulted in the establishment of 
the Metropolitan Museum. At the time of his gift of this pic- 
ture he had been treasurer of the museum since 1882, and in 
1889 he began his service as president which terminated only 
with his death in 1902. 

108 Vermeer 

The seventh Viscount Powerscourt (i 836-1904), of Pow- 
erscourt Castle, Enniskerry, County Wicklow, not many miles 
south of Dublin, Ireland, succeeded to his historic title in 1 844. 
He was an ardent collector of works of art, and described some 
of his adventures in collecting in his book " A Description and 
History of Powerscourt" (1903), which gives details of the 
furnishings of the several rooms of this great house, one of the 
show places of eastern Ireland. Lord Powerscourt was one of 
the Governors of the National Gallery of Ireland from the 
date of its opening, February 1, 1864, soon after which time, 
in company with Henry Doyle, its second director, he made 
a tour of Holland and Belgium in search of paintings. He de- 
scribes gleefully, among other things, how in Holland they 
succeeded in buying for their Gallery a Rembrandt, after keen 
competition with an American collector. In addition to the 
Vermeer, the Powerscourt Collection has contained other im- 
portant old masters, and is today the home of paintings by 
Miereveld, Ruysdael, Cuyp, C. Jansens, Mytens and others — 
Dutch, Flemish, Italian and English — particularly one of the 
tomb of William the Silent in Delft by Emanuel de Witte, who 
was associated with Vermeer in the Guild of St. Luke. 

In view of Lord Powerscourt's ownership of one of the 
most beautiful Vermeers, it is interesting to note what he 
had to say about Vermeer in an address on Art which he de- 
livered at the twenty-fifth annual congress of the National As- 
sociation for the Promotion of Social Science, which was held 
in October, 1881, in Dublin. This was only fifteen years after 
the publication of M. Thore's articles on Vermeer in the 
Gazette des Beaux-Arts and it was two years before M. Henry 
Havard published his articles on Vermeer in the same periodi- 
cal. Lord Powerscourt may therefore be said to have been one 
of the first to be impressed with the greatness of Vermeer and 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 109 

his remarks represent what can be called a fairly advanced de- 
gree of appreciation, however conservative it may appear in 
our present view. 

Speaking of the Dutch painters, Lord Powerscourt says: " I 
cannot leave Holland without a word with regard to one of the 
rarest and greatest masters of the Dutch school, who is well 
called in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, from the little that is 
known of him, ' The Sphinx.' I mean Jan van der Meer, of 
Delft. In the Hague Museum may be seen the splendid picture 
of his native town, glowing with sunset light, and a few of his 
works may be found at Dresden, Paris, and in some private 
collections in England. But he is so remarkable and original an 
artist, and his manner of painting is so peculiar to himself, that 
it is curious how his talent appears to have remained almost un- 
known out of Holland until quite recently. The Gazette des 
Beaux-Arts had several articles on him some years since, and 
they gave him the name I have mentioned, on account of his 
being a riddle, in that he seems to have done so little, and yet 
that little is of such superlative merit. It does not seem to be 
known whether he died young, which is probable, but at any 
rate his name has not been recognized in the same category as 
Metsu or Jan Steen; and yet his work, in the few examples 
which are extant, might rank with these, and he had a method 
of treatment of light and shade, and also of colour, which is 
quite unmatched in its own peculiarities of style. 

" Any one who knows his pictures can never forget the truth 
and force of his colouring, and the delicate and beautiful effects 
in his works, especially his way of depicting the effect of light 
through bluish window-glass, which seems to be the principal 
aim in many of his pictures, and which I do not remember to 
have seen so successfully rendered by any other painter." 

The history of the ownership of A Young Woman Opening 

no Vermeer 

a Casement is still in large measure, undetermined, but the in- 
teresting probability that it was long owned in Ireland is made 
evident in letters from the eighth Viscount Powerscourt dated 
January 18 and February 24, 1936. 

In the earlier letter, Lord Powerscourt says: 
' This picture was undoubtedly in my father's collection, 
although I believe that he sold it about the time of my birth, 

" I have searched all his records, and can find no trace of his 
having bought it, so presumably it must have been acquired by 
his father, or even before that; as there was quite an important 
collection of pictures here, in the house, before my father suc- 
ceeded to the property." 

In his second letter, Lord Powerscourt writes: " I am sorry 
to say that there is no list or record of pictures that existed be- 
fore my father's time. After my grandfather died my grand- 
mother married Lord Castlereagh, who afterwards became Mar- 
quis of Londonderry. They chose Powerscourt as their home, 
and during this period they added a large quantity of works of 
art to the establishment. We have no means of judging which 
were attributable to this regime, which terminated many years 
before my father's marriage about 1 864. But it is probable that 
the Vermeer picture was bought by Lord Castlereagh during 
the time of his residence at Powerscourt, as all the really fine 
works of art in the house, prior to those added by my father, 
would appear to date from that time." 

This is one of Vermeer's most skilful performances. It is free 
from falterings or weak passages. Its colour scheme resolves 
itself into blues and yellows, interspersed with a certain quantity 
of grey, — such an arrangement as hardly anyone but Vermeer 
had conceived of in his day. The pronounced bluish tonality is 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft hi 

probably due to a blue underpainting. This tonal quality, in- 
cidentally, is popular with amateurs of Vermeer. 

Mr. E. V. Lucas, in his " Vermeer of Delft," 192 1, says of 
this picture: " The beauty of the Marquand example — The 
Woman with the Water Jug — is such as to dim the memory 
of everything else [in the museum]. This picture is by far the 
most lovely thing I saw in America and the most magical. 
Where other artists counterfeit light Vermeer kindles it, and 
never with more radiance than here. The work contains such 
a mastery of the problems of illumination and shadow — apart 
altogether from sheer drawing — as must make many an artist 
go home and burn his brushes, and no other of Vermeer's pic- 
tures is so suffused with his marvellous blue. The jug and basin, 
both of polished brass, are miraculous, nothing less." 

A Girl Asleep 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Plate i i 
Leaning her head upon her right hand a young woman has 
fallen asleep as she sits at a table, well to the left of the picture. 
She wears a pointed black cap and a brown bodice with white 
collar over which is thrown a white kerchief. Her left hand 
rests limply on the table. The latter is covered with a crumpled 
rug. On it are a dish of fruit, a cloth and the little white jug 
which Vermeer so often painted. In the upper left corner, on 
the wall, is a portion of a picture, which in part resembles the 
picture of Cupid in the Lady at the Virginals, (National Gal- 
lery, London). Towards the right is a door opening into a room 
in which are seen a table and a picture. This glimpse into an- 
other room is an unusual detail — the only one of its kind noted 

112 Vermeer 

in a Vermeer, though de Hooch commonly developed such 
perspectives. Near the door jamb, in the upper right, part of 
a map is seen. The upper portion of a lion-headed chair fills the 
foreground, lower right. 

Signed to the left, above the girl's head, " J V Meer " (the 
V and M intertwined) . 

Canvas, 34 9/16 inches by 30 1/8 inches. 

Probably the Drunken Maid Servant Asleep behind a Table, 
No. 8 in the 1696 sale. (It may be noted in passing that 
M. Thore supposed he had discovered the 1696 picture of this 
subject in a work which came into his possession, and which 
later was acquired by the Widener Collection; this is no longer 
believed to be by Vermeer but is definitely assigned to Esaias 

A Girl Asleep was in the collection of John Waterloo Wil- 
son, Paris, 1 88 1. It belonged to the Paris art dealer, M. Sedel- 
meyer, 1 898. It was in the collection of the late Rodolphe Kann, 
Paris. Purchased by Duveen Brothers, London, 1907, and sold 
by them to Benjamin Altman, New York, 1908. Bequest of 
Benjamin Altman to the Metropolitan Museum, 191 3. 

This at first sight is a somewhat disappointing picture, its 
tonality heavy and hot and the painting more heavy-handed 
than was Vermeer's best wont. Some painters who have ex- 
amined it do not think it a Vermeer at all. Yet, from internal 
evidence, it must be either a Vermeer or someone's imitation of 
a Vermeer; and it is unlikely that a plagiarist would have se- 
lected a scheme of composition, including the opening of a door 
into another room, which was unusual with Vermeer. The pig- 
ment of the canvas is apparently old; until comparatively re- 
cently no one had a compelling motive to attempt a forgery of 
this sort. Several of the Vermeer stigmata, furthermore, are 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 113 

observable: the lion-headed chair, the white jug, the Cupid pic- 
ture, the crumpled oriental rug. It is a canvas the time of which 
one is inclined to place before the conversation pieces and the 
portraits, but after such works as the Courtesan, the Toilette of 
Diana, Mary and Martha, the Maid-servant Pouring out Milk, 
the View of Delft and the Little Street in Delft, which, from 
their manner, are believed to be early. The heavy technique and 
hot colour of A Girl Asleep suggest that the artist may have 
been experimenting towards a new series of conversation pieces. 

In its details A Girl Asleep presents many things, good and 
bad, which are instructive. The whitish wall of the front room 
has gradations that are very beautiful — indeed quite marvel- 
lous. Similarly of the wall in the back room. The jug, after the 
style of Vermeer's still life, is very good, though the half lights 
are too hot. The fruit-dish is exquisitely painted, but the fruit 
not so well. The cloth is bad, and the glass looks like lace. The 
fringe of the rug, quite at the outside of the picture, is made 
with singular felicity, and the whole rug is beautifully done. 
The planes of the head are carefully observed, the nose is well 
painted, the mouth is excellently made, but, unfortunately, the 
high lights are wrong, the one on the cheek, in particular, be- 
ing obviously too high. The hand is rather good. 

This painting as a whole is richer in tone — heavier and 
" fatter," as artists phrase it, in paint quality — than the gener- 
ality of Vermeer's works. It seems to have been overcleaned. 

A Lady with a Lute 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Plate 12 
Holding a lute a young woman sits at a table with blue striped 
cover on which are two music books. Her head is turned some- 

ii4 Vermeer 

what to the left. She wears a yellow jacket trimmed with er- 
mine. Before the table is a chair on which some blackish-blue 
drapery is thrown. Further back, against the wall, is another 
chair, and above this hangs a map. The light is from a blue- 
curtained window, at the left. 

Signed on the wall beneath the table: " Meer." 

Canvas, 2o!4 inches by 18 inches. 

Possibly in the 1696 sale; in an English collection; in the col- 
lection of Collis P. Huntington, who, in 1897, bequeathed it 
with the rest of his collection of paintings, to the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, subject to a life interest of his widow and 
children; Mrs. Huntington died in 1924 and the surviving son, 
Archer M. Huntington, waived his right and transferred the 
collection to the Metropolitan in 1925. 

From its pattern and the manner in which the window is ar- 
ranged this painting seems to be about contemporary with the 
Berlin Pearl Necklace, the Metropolitan Young Woman Open- 
ing a Casement and the National Gallery Lady at the Virginals. 
Its design is excellent, and especially in respect of the spacing 
of its objects. The figure is somewhat closer to the window 
than was Vermeer's wont, this giving more space on the further 
side, which is interestingly treated. 

A peculiarity of the design is that the end of the map stick 
almost touches the woman's head. This might seem to violate 
an axiom of some modern designers who tell students and other 
beginners that two marked forms in different planes of a com- 
position should either overlap or be rather widely separated. 
Vermeer has here committed very successfully what is some- 
times called a fault of arrangement. 

This alleged dissonance of design, which Vermeer resolved 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 115 

so agreeably, may be comparable with a prejudice which some 
musicians have against consecutive fifths. 

Allegory of the New Testament 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Plate 13 
The title of this more or less allegorical painting was sug- 
gested by its several biblical accessories. Before a table on which 
are an open Bible, a crucifix and a chalice sits a woman, a little 
to the right of the centre. Her head is turned in three-quarters, 
with the eyes looking upward. Her left arm leans on the table 
to her left, while her right hand lightly touches her breast. The 
right foot rests on a large globe. The woman wears a bluish 
bodice with white silk skirt. The table cover is of white silk. 
To the rear is a large picture of the Crucifixion, while behind 
the crucifix is a piece of stamped leather. This picture of the 
Crucifixion is, in the opinion of Mr. Eduard Plietzsch, a free 
copy of a well-known picture of the Crucifixion by Jacob 
Jordaens, now at Antwerp. A tapestry curtain hangs across the 
upper left hand, reaching nearly to the bottom where it meets 
a chair with blue cushion. On the floor, which is of blue and 
white squares, lies a snake, its head crushed and bleeding be- 
neath a weight of veined marble. Near by is the apple of Para- 
dise. Above the woman, somewhat to her right, hangs a crystal 

Canvas, 45 inches by 3 5 inches. 

Sold at the Herman van Swoll Collection Sale, Amsterdam, 
April 22, 1699, No. 25, 400 florins ($160), as a " Representa- 
tion of the New Testament "; same place, July 13, 1 7 1 8, No. 8, 

n6 Vermeer 

500 florins ($200); Amsterdam sale, April 19, 1735, No. n, 
53 florins ($21.20); David Jetwaart Collection Sale, Amster- 
dam, April 22, 1749, No. 152, 70 florins ($28), stated, in the 
entry in the Hoet Catalogue (Vol. II, p. 248), to be by " the 
Delft van der Meer, as good as Eglon vander Neer." Redis- 
covered in Berlin in an antique shop by Dr. A. Bredius to whom 
it is said to have been sold as an Eglon van der Neer by Wacht- 
ler, a dealer, for 700 marks. While the picture was in his pos- 
session, Dr. Bredius lent it for many years for exhibition at the 
Royal Gallery of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague, of 
which he was sometime the Director. It was bought from Dr. 
Bredius by Francis Kleinberger, dealer, and by him sold in 1928, 
to the late Colonel Michael Friedsam, New York, by bequest 
from whom in 193 1 it passed into the ownership of the Metro- 
politan Museum. See article on " The Friedsam Collection of 
Paintings," Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum, November, 

In this work Vermeer passed from the sublime into the ridicu- 
lous. It is technically one of his most accomplished paintings. 
There are many beautiful passages in it. The weak point, of 
course, is the woman's figure. When Vermeer painted a young 
woman standing by a window he was wonderful. When he tried 
his hand at something quasi-allegorical, he was, to put it mildly, 
less remarkable. The effort to inject a religious content into his 
design seems to have paralyzed his energies and inhibited his 
good taste. Not only is the woman stupidly posed, not only is 
the expression of her face absurd, but she is not even a well- 
made figure. 

The accessories, on the other hand, are extremely well done. 
The invention of the globe as a footstool is about as puerile as 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 117 

anything in allegorical art; yet, it is delightfully painted. The 
crucifix is a marvel of skill and finish. The picture of the Cruci- 
fixion is done with consummate art, in that it stays back and 
still permits one to discern its details. 

The well-handled curtain to the left makes it appear probable 
that the picture was painted at about the period of the Studio. 
The compositional devices are much the same in both works: in 
each is the same curtain; in both pictures a chair is placed in 
similar relation to the whole arrangement; there are the same 
rafters in the ceiling, and the same expedient of a hanging ob- 
ject to break the straightness of the beam lines. The picture on 
the wall in one painting and the map in the other are placed 
similarly and for essentially the same compositional purpose. 

The Neiu Testament reveals sharply in one canvas Vermeer's 
astounding merits and some of his weaknesses as a painter. 
Things in it were painted as no one but he ever has painted, 
and yet, apparently, he let it go out of his studio without 
trying to modify or conceal the awkwardness of his ridiculous 

The subject matter of this allegorical painting, incidentally, 
may not have seemed absurd to pious owners of a book pub- 
lished in 1 644 called Iconologie of Uytbeeldinghe des Verstants, 
a translation by Dirck Pietersz Pers after Cesare Ripa, in which 
iconography the figure of " Faith " is called: " A woman 
seated with a chalice in her right hand, her left hand on a book 
and her feet on the earth; on the ground a serpent crushed by 
an angular stone, and an apple representing sin; behind the 
woman a crown of thorns suspended on a nail; in the back- 
ground a picture of the Sacrifice of Abraham." 

n8 Vermeer 

Lady Writing 

Morgan Collection, New York 

Plate 14 

A gentlewoman writes at a table. She leans forward with her 
head turned slightly towards the spectator. She wears a yellow 
morning jacket trimmed with ermine; her chair is ornamented 
with gilt lions' heads. The accessories of the table are an ink- 
stand, some pearls and a casket. On the wall is a map, somewhat 
obscured in the half light. The picture is lighted from a window 
at the extreme left. 

Canvas, iBYz inches by 14V2 inches. 

This painting may have been in the Amsterdam sale, 1696, 
No. 35. It also appeared, probably, in the Dr. Luchtmans Sale, 
Rotterdam, 1 816; the J. Kamermans Sale, probably, Rotterdam, 
1825; the H. Reydon Sale, Amsterdam, 1827, and the Comte 
F. de Robiano Sale, Brussels, 1837. 

This is one of the least interesting of Vermeer's paintings, 
though it has clever bits, as notably the lions' heads. In its tech- 
nique there is some resemblance to the style of Caspar Netscher 
(163 9-1 684), suggesting that the work may have been painted 
towards the end of Vermeer's life when Netscher had returned 
to Holland after his residence in France and was influencing 
other Netherland painters towards a French manner. The 
blackish tone, unusual in a Vermeer, is rather dismal. The back- 
ground seems to show through the head, and apparently the 
whole picture was painted in a thin, grey manner not unlike 
that of Gerard de Lairesse (1 641-17 1 1 ) and his contemporaries 
who frankly imitated the contemporary French school. These 
Francophile painters of Holland had, in common with Largil- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 119 

Here, Rigaud and Mignard, a liking for distinct, well-under- 
stood technique, for clear bright colours and clean surfaces — 
qualities which Vermeer, too, shared with them. Such affinity 
for the art of the Latin nations, in so far forth as Vermeer had 
it, might have been stimulated, in the first instance, by Leonard 
Bramer, by some supposed to have been one of his teachers. 
Vermeer is known to have owned a Crucifixion, apparently, as 
already noted, by Jordaens, or at least a copy after him, and the 
Gipsy Woman, now at Antwerp, by Dirck van Baburen, an 
academic painter who worked in Italy. The Cupid which ap- 
pears in three of his works seems to have been a painting of 
the Italian or Italianate mode. 

Girl Interrupted at Her Music 

sometimes called The Si?iging Lesson, The Music Lesson or 

A Gentlemaji and a Young Lady 

Trick Collection, New York 

Plate 15 
A man leans over a young woman in order to take, or give, 
a paper, possibly connected with the book of music on the 
table. The girl's head is turned away from him and towards the 
spectator. Beneath her white kerchief she wears a red jacket and 
a blue skirt. On the covered table, beside the sheet of music, are 
a mandolin and the white jug which is in several of Vermeer's 
pictures, together with a glass of red wine. Before the table, to 
the left, making a significant detail, is a lion-headed chair, with 
blue cushion. Two other chairs of the same design appear, in 
one of which the lady sits. The light is from a leaded window 
to the left; on the wall, near by, is a bird cage which some have 
thought painted by another hand. 

120 Vermeer 

Dimly adumbrated in the picture behind the two figures is 
discerned the Cupid which is also in the Lady at the Virginals, 
National Gallery, and in part in the Girl Asleep, Metropolitan 
Museum. This picture of a Cupid became visible when the work 
was cleaned. Its place was formerly occupied by a violin and 
a bow, noticed in the catalogue of the Smeth van Alphen Sale 
of 1810. 

Canvas, \$ l A inches by 17 X A inches. 

This may be the painting of the 1696 sale catalogued as 
A Gentleman and a Lady Making Music. Sold at the P. de 
Smeth van Alphen Sale, Amsterdam, August 1, 18 10, No. 57, 
610 florins ($244); H. Croese Sale, Amsterdam, September 18, 
181 1, No. 45, 399 florins; C. S. Roos Sale, Amsterdam, August 
28, 1820, No. 64, 330 florins, (Brondgeest) ; Woodburn Col- 
lection; Gibson Collection; collection of Lewis Fry, Clifton, 
Bristol, England, 1900; Lawrie and Company, London; ac- 
quired by Henry Clay Frick in 1 90 1 ; Frick Collection, New 

The accessories of this interior are treated in a masterly way. 
The painting of the figures is less satisfactory. Observing, in- 
deed, the folds of the young woman's gown one wonders if 
they have not been repainted by a clumsier hand than Ver- 
meer's. The girl's face is pretty but by no means well con- 
structed. This constructive weakness might be thought not to 
matter much, since Vermeer did not work constructively, but, 
unfortunately, even the light and shade, in which he usually 
excelled, are here not very good. The head and kerchief may be 
compared, for notation of differences of quality, with the head 
of the Metropolitan Museum's Young Woman Opening a Case- 
ment. The weakly drawn wrist and hand and the slimsy waist 
in this work make one understand how Vermeer's paintings 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 121 

were sometimes attributed to Jan Steen. The man's draperies, 
in the picture, for some reason, are more logically constructed 
than the woman's, but even they do not give a sense of the light 
sliding across them as Vermeer caused it to do when drapery 
stood still for him. 

These defects of an admirably designed painting show 
markedly where Vermeer's strength lay and wherein he was 
not so able. In the instance of this picture, he presumably could 
not have his models for long enough sittings, or he found diffi- 
culty in making them hold the pose. He painted at other times, 
as when he did the Head of a Girl, the Hague Museum, some 
of the finest heads ever modeled. If in completing the figures 
in this work he could have treated them like bits of still life 
they might have been better done. 

Vermeer seemed at times to lose his courage in painting the 
living model, and to approach his problems of creating a possi- 
ble figure in a mood different from that spirit of objectivity 
which made him a great painter. 

The Soldier and the Laughing Girl 
sometimes called Officer and Laughing Girl 

Frick Collection, New York 

Plate 16 
A soldier, his right arm akimbo, with the hand resting on 
his thigh, sits in " lost profile " with his back slightly turned to 
the spectator. He looks at a laughing girl, seated across a small 
table in a lion-headed chair. The girl's head is in three-quarters; 
glancing towards the soldier she holds a wineglass in her right 
hand, the left resting on the table. Her bodice is of black and 
yellow; she has a white coif. The soldier's hat is black with a 
red ribbon, and his baldric is of red with a bandolier. 


The casement of a leaded window, to the left, is partly open 
to admit the light; above is a curtain. A map of Holland and 
West Friesland is behind the girl's head and high up in the 
picture. See Plate 17. 

Not signed. 

Canvas, 20 inches by 18 inches. 

This is No. 1 1, Amsterdam sale, 1696, 44 florins; bought at 
a London sale, for £246. 15s., as a Pieter de Hooch by Leopold 
Double, Paris, who owned it in 1866, as chronicled by M. 
Thore; sold from the Leopold Double Collection, Paris, May 
30, 1 881; in the Demidoff Collection, San Donato, near Flor- 
ence; collection of Mrs. Samuel S. Joseph, London, until ac- 
quired by Henry Clay Frick in 1 9 1 1 ; Frick Collection, New 

This is not one of Vermeer's best paintings, though it con- 
tains characteristic passages. The blacks are exaggerated and, in 
general, the shadows are unpleasantly dark. The colour values 
are not impeccable. 

The composition is daring and original. The large size of 
the soldier's head in relation to the girl's shows how close to 
his subjects Vermeer was accustomed to sit. The lion-headed 
chairs and one of the maps which he was fond of painting are 
present. The girl wears a bodice which he often rendered, and 
her coif is one which he has made familiar. The map is rendered 
in that astonishing detail of which Vermeer was capable. Since, 
nevertheless, it conveys too much sense of the local tone of the 
blacks, it is not so good as is the map in the Studio in which the 
light slides over the surface quite wonderfully. The perspec- 
tive of the window offers proof of a fact, previously adverted 
to, that Vermeer sat while he painted. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 123 

The map on the wall is a Blaeu map, concerning which Mr. 
Louis A. Holman, in his " Old Maps and Their Makers," Bos- 
ton, 1926, writes: "The Blaeu maps, taken by and large, are 
probably the most beautiful product of the art of cartography; 
in general plan, in harmonious colour, in free artistic lettering, 
in well-drawn cartouches, in ships and in whales, there is a nice 
harmony, a delicate craftsmanship, that would be hard, indeed, 
to duplicate. It is an interesting fact that these Blaeu maps in- 
fluenced such artists as Vermeer. . . . In [several] of his paint- 
ings maps are used as an integral part of the composition. In 
some of them, as in The Soldier and the Laughing Girl, he has 
painted a detail of the map so faithfully that the original is 
easily recognized. Other artists — Metsu, de Hooch, Steen, Ter- 
borch, to mention only one group — also used maps in their 
paintings. Some of the old maps have wide borders or frames 
filled with pictures of cities and of men and women in gay cos- 
tume. Speed [John, English cartographer] seems to have set 
this fashion. Blaeu and others quickly copied it. 

" Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1 571-1638) and his two sons, Jan 
and Cornelis, had before 1655 published about 400 maps. Their 
first was in 1606. The third generation carried on the business 
until 1672, when fire destroyed their publishing house in Am- 
sterdam, with most of the map plates." 

A Lady and a Maid-Servant 

Trick Collection, New York 

Plate 18 
A seated young woman, turned in " lost profile." She looks 
towards a smiling maid-servant who hands her a letter. She wears 
a lemon-yellow jacket trimmed with ermine and she has pearls 

124 Vermeer 

in her hair, around her neck and a large pendant at the ear. 
The maid is dressed in a dull grey bodice and skirt. On the 
table, which is covered by a somewhat rumpled blue cloth, 
are a glass inkstand, a drinking glass and a casket. The back- 
ground is dark. 

A much enlarged photograph of a small section of the upper 
left corner of the box on which the maid's right arm is resting 
discloses what appear to be faint and incomplete outlines of 
the letters " V e r m." 

Canvas, 35 inches by 30 inches. 

Possibly No. 7 of the 1696 sale, 70 florins; Josua van Belle 
Collection Sale, Rotterdam, 1730, No. 92, 155 florins; Burgo- 
master Hendrik van Slingelandt Collection Sale, The Hague, 
1770; Blondel de Gagny Collection Sale, Paris, December 10- 
24, 1776, No. 72, (asTerborch, 3902 francs, with Une Femme 
assise, lisant une Lettre, to Lengliev, for Poullain); Poullain 
Collection Sale, Paris, March 15, 1780, No. 40, 4550 francs; 
Le Brun Collection Sale, Paris, 1809, 600 francs; Paillet Col- 
lection Sale, Paris, 1 8 1 8, 460 francs; Duchesse de Berri Collec- 
tion Sale, Paris, April 4, 1837, No. 76, 405 francs; Dufour, 
Marseilles; E. Secretan Collection Sale, Sedelmeyer Galleries, 
Paris, July 1, 1889, No. 139, Sedelmeyer Galleries, 75000 
francs; A. Paulovtsoff, St. Petersburg; sold by him to the Lon- 
don dealers, Lawrie and Company; Sulley and Company, Lon- 
don, in 1905; James Simon, Berlin; Duveen Brothers, 1919; 
purchased 1919, by Henry Clay Frick; Frick Collection, New 

This painting lacks some of the Vermeer earmarks. The 
table covering is different from that in several pictures defi- 
nitely given to Vermeer; the woman's morning sacque is of 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 125 

a pattern not noticed in any of his other works; the hair is 
not dressed as one would expect. The background seems apart 
from the composition. This, indeed, is about the only conversa- 
tion piece ascribed to Vermeer in which the structural lines 
and the wall surfaces do not continue and improve upon the 

The painting, on the other hand, appears to be signed. A 
forgery of Vermeer's signature would hardly have been worth 
while until comparatively recently. 

The work, furthermore, is, in many ways, so admirable that 
it is difficult to think of anyone except Vermeer who could 
have made it. 

The Geographer 
also called The Astronomer 

Collection of E. John Magni?i, New York 

Plate 19 
A young man sits, left in the picture, facing to the right. He 
has a loose cap and wears a grey gown faced with leopard skin. 
Against a globe leans a large open book. On a table, covered by 
a rug, are a compass and other instruments. The background is 
considerably concealed by a green curtain. A quadrant hangs 
from the ceiling. The rapt expression of concentration with 
which the young man looks at the spot on the globe where his 
left hand rests, while his right hand holds an open book, possi- 
bly descriptive of the place he is studying, is the picture's cen- 
tral motive. 

Signed and dated 1665. 

Panel, 19 inches by i^A inches. 

126 Vermeer 

Three pictures which portray the single figure of a man who 
might be called an astronomer, or a geographer, or a mathema- 
tician, or a scientist of a similar kind, are attributed to Jan Ver- 
meer of Delft: one owned by E. John Magnin, New York, one 
in the Rothschild Collection, Paris, and one in the Stadel Art 
Institute, Frankfort. In the records of certain picture sales dur- 
ing the eighteenth century, mention is made of " two astrono- 
mers," — the word in the Hoet Catalogue is " astrologist." The 
point to be noted is not, however, the word translated " astrono- 
mer " but, rather, the fact that the sales records of tivo pictures 
have been taken, in several publications on Vermeer of Delft, 
as authority for the attribution to him of each one of these three 
pictures. It seems reasonable to say that a set of facts concerning 
tivo pictures cannot very well be considered to apply to three, 
and in the absence of identifying details, such particularly as 
those of height and width, cannot with assurance be attached to 
any two of the three, to the prejudice of the third. The Hoet 
Catalogue gives no dimensions; it refers merely, in the language 
of the dealers from whose sales catalogues it was compiled, to 
the skill and excellence of the workmanship. There is satisfac- 
tory authority for the acceptance of each of these three pictures 
as the work of Jan Vermeer of Delft. Which two of the three 
were actually sold in the successive eighteenth century sales is at 
present (1936) still not definitely determined. 

It is probable that down through the Jan Danser Nijman Sale 
of 1797, the sales record of only two of these three pictures 
exists. The supposition that Nijman had acquired a third paint- 
ing of this subject is rendered doubtful by curious errors of 
compilation of an earlier day, in which the identical Nijman 
number — 167 — is given to both the Magnin and the Roths- 
child pictures, and in which practically the identical price (132 
and 1 3 3 florins) is given to both numbers 1 67 and 168, although 
the former number, 167, is stated in the history of the Roths- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 127 

child Astronomer to have been sold by Nijman for 270 florins. 
In the face of such a comedy of errors it is reasonable only to 
prefix the word " possibly " to each of the early histories 
credited to these pictures. 

With this in mind, the history of the sales of the Geographer 
may be set forth as follows: 

Sales: Possibly at Rotterdam, April 27, 171 3, at which two 
pictures, numbered 10 and 1 1, each with the same subject, were 
sold for 300 florins; possibly at the Hendrik Sorgh Sale, Amster- 
dam, March 28, 1 7 20, at which two paintings were sold together 
for 160 florins: No. 3, "an astrologist," as stated in the Hoet 
Catalogue, Vol. I, p. 242, " of Vermeer of Delft, extra choice," 
and No. 4, " a like picture of the same [artist], not inferior "; 
possibly at the Govert Looten Sale, Amsterdam, March 31, 
1729, Item No. 6 (Hoet Catalogue, Vol. I, p. 333), comprising 
" two astrologists, of the Delft van der Meer, excellently and 
cleverly painted," the two together for 104 florins; possibly also 
Jacob Crammer Simonz, Amsterdam, November 25, 1778, No. 
20, 172 florins (Wubbels); possibly also Lebrun, Paris, 1792; 
possibly Jan Danser Nijman, Amsterdam, August 16, 1797. 

In the Collection of Lord ; Isaac Pereire, Paris, 1872, 

4000 francs; Edouard Kums, Antwerp, May 17-18, 1898, 
8500 francs; Vicomte du Bus de Gisignies, Brussels, on whose 
death it passed by inheritance to his son-in-law, Comte de 
Renesse, from whom it was acquired for joint ownership by 
Rene Gimpel, of Paris, and Edouard Jonas, New York and 
Paris; sold by the latter, January, 1936, to E. John Magnin, 
New York; Collection of E. John Magnin, New York. See 
The Art News, New York, May 16, 193 1, for a reproduction 
in colour. 

As stated above, this is one of three paintings ascribed to Ver- 
meer, all depicting an astronomer. Some writers have conjee- 

128 Vermeer 

tured that Anthony van Leeuwenhoek may have been the 
subject of this picture, and of the two pictures called The 
Astronomer. The question of the likelihood of this possibility 
is discussed in connection with The Astronomer in the Stadel 
Institute, Frankfort, pages 197-200. 

While this painting was still in the possession of M. Pereire, 
it was seen by M. Thore, who wrote {Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 
April, 1864): " It is dated 1665 but I have not yet been able to 
discover the signature if it is there." 

After 1898, when it passed through public sale from the 
Kums Collection into that of the Vicomte du Bus de Gisignies, 
it was for years seen by only a few privileged persons, by none 
of whom was it examined critically. 

When it came into Comte de Renesse's possession Dr. W. 
Martin, Director of the Royal Gallery of Paintings, The 
Hague, was permitted to study it at his leisure. Having re- 
moved the enveloping varnish he discerned the date, 1665, 
previously discovered, written in Arabic numerals in the centre 
of the right leaf of the book leaning against the globe, and a 
signature in handwriting in the upper left corner of the map 
on the wall. The capital letter V, furthermore, he found on 
the book held in the geographer's hand, and the capital letter 
M on the other book. Dr. Martin's letter, in possession of Mr. 
Jonas (1929), is as follows: " This picture is one of the works 
of Vermeer that has been the least studied, because since 1898, 
the date on which it passed through public sale from the Kums 
Collection into that of the Vicomte du Bus de Gisignies, it has 
been seen by but very few privileged persons, the owner having 
always refused to show it. Recently it went into the Collection 
of the Comte de Renesse (son-in-law of the Vicomte du Bus 
de Gisignies), where we have been able to examine it at leisure. 

" After having removed the varnish, which rendered it dark, 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 129 

we had the surprise to discover the genuine and certain date 
and signature, which are quite visible — when one knows the 
exact place — on the photogravure reproduction which appears 
in the remarkable work by M. Hofstede de Groot on ' Ver- 
meer and Fabritius.' This picture bears a very distinct date, 
1665, written in Arabic characters on the middle of the right 
leaf of the book leaning against the globe. 

" In the upper left corner of the map hanging on the wall 
can also be seen, in the form of an inscription, four lines of 
handwriting. The map being disposed obliquely to the view of 
the observer, the painter, faithful translator of the laws of per- 
spective, has accordingly brought closely together the down- 
strokes of the lettering. 

" Leaving the first line, which appears to defy transcription, 
one can read, on the second one, a signature absolutely similar 
to that which is seen on the Courtesan, and it also recalls the 
monogram of the View of Delft. Yet, one's attention is drawn 
to the fact the name is written Mee instead of Meer, leading 
one to suppose that the r has disappeared, and that the last letter 
was an e. Underneath can be seen other figures and letters, 
probably an indication of the date of the month and year. 

" It may also be that no great care has been taken in the two 
capital letters which can be seen, one on the book held in the 
hand of the geographer and the other on the book leaning 
against the globe, letters which, by a very singular coincidence, 
may be read as V and M. 

' The place of this signature should not surprise anyone. 
Although Vermeer seldom dated his paintings, he, on the other 
hand, signed twenty-two of his works, and the greater num- 
ber of his signatures he placed in the middle of his pictures and 
often in large characters." 

(Signed) W. Martin 

130 Vermeer 

After the painting had passed into the joint possession of 
M. Gimpel and Mr. Jonas it was also studied by Dr. W. R. 
Valentiner while it was exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts. 
He pronounced it a characteristic and excellent work by Jan 
Vermeer of Delft, most harmonious as well in the carefully 
balanced composition as in the fine subdued colour scheme built 
upon shades of grey and light brown. 

At Mr. Magnin's New York home (1936), this picture hangs 
on a living-room wall; it is perhaps the only Vermeer of au- 
thentic record not hung in a public or private art gallery but 
lived with by its owner in intimate daily association. This man- 
ner of hanging is a return to the original conception of the col- 
lectors of old Holland, who bought pictures, or had them 
painted, for their homes. Mr. Magnin, incidentally, is of old 
Netherland ancestry. 

A Young Woman Reading 

Collection of Jules S. Bache, Neiv York 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Plate 20 
A young woman reading a letter sits in profile, looking to 
the spectator's right. Her head is placed very low in the picture, 
the light coming in from the right. Her hair is brushed back 
from the forehead and quaintly braided; a lovelock falls in front 
of the right ear. Over the shoulders is a white lawn handker- 
chief; the yellow gown has narrow black edging and white 
cuffs. The chair in which the woman sits is stiff, straight- 
backed and studded with brass-headed nails. Another similar 
chair stands against the wall, near her knees. A little dark sea- 
scape, framed in black, hangs on the wall and serves to de- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 131 

tach the head in extreme relief. The wall is of a pallid and 
muted yellow tone. 

Canvas, 7 l A inches by 5 Vi inches. 

Attributed to Vermeer by Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot in his 
" Jan Vermeer and Carel Fabritius." 

Formerly in the collections of Dr. Rademaker, The Hague, 
and the Messrs. Wildenstein. Exhibited at the Reinhardt Gal- 
leries, New York, 1926. Bought by Jules S. Bache, 1928. 

Some experts of repute have vouched for this painting. If it 
is by Vermeer it is not a very good example. Its best qualities 
are its colour scheme and the distinctive arrangement. The lat- 
ter seems not entirely conclusive — not convincingly in Ver- 
meer's manner. He often placed the head low in the picture, 
with a great deal of space above it, as in the Dresden Letter. 
Sometimes, again, he placed the head as most other painters 
would, rather near the top of his composition. This head ap- 
pears to be neither. It merely has been put awkwardly low with 
no compensating charm of tapestry or map or whatever else 
might be behind it. 

Head of a Young Boy 

Collection of Jules S. Bache, New York 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Plate 21 
Head and shoulders of a boy, in full face, the large brown eyes 
turned slightly to the left, the nose somewhat large and heavy, 
the lips full and well-shaped. His curly dark-brown hair reaches 
to the shoulders. The light is from the left. He wears a white 
collar edged with lace; a large yellow-brown mantle is thrown 

132 Vermeer 

across his shoulders. The background, darker to the left than to 
the right, is of a neutral tone. 

Canvas, 2 3 % inches by 1 9 Vz inches. 

Formerly in the collections of Yves Perdoux and Sir Joseph 
Duveen, Bart. Attributed at one time to Sebastien Bourdon. 
Attributed to Vermeer by Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot in his 
" Jan Vermeer of Delft and Carel Fabritius." Listed by Emil 
Waldmann as questionable, in Kunst und Kiinstler, for Febru- 
ary, 1926. 

Several scholars of repute have expressed themselves as fa- 
vouring the attribution of this portrait to Vermeer. Yet does 
it altogether suggest Vermeer? The painting of the collar is 
not unlike his manner; the head, on the other hand, though 
very ably made, does not resemble Vermeer's workmanship 
as much as do other heads which are less skilfully painted. The 
Girl with a Flute, Widener Collection, for instance, is not a 
particularly attractive picture but it reeks of Vermeer. This 
head does not. It looks more like the Italianate work of some 
French or Netherland painter trained in Italy. Vermeer's por- 
traits were generally laid in in planes and then worked over. 
This head, very fluently executed, seems to have been done in 
a more " fused " style. 

The Girl with the Red Hat 
also called The Girl with the Red Feather 

Collection of the A. W. Mellon Educational and 
Charitable Trust, Washington 

Plate 22 
Wearing a large hat with red plumes and a vaguely shaped 
cloak of blue brocade, a girl is looking over her right shoul- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 133 

der. The head disengages itself from a tapestry background 
of bluish and dull yellow tones. The hat casts a shadow over 
about two-thirds of the face. The half-shut eyes, the aristocratic 
nose, the full, well-shaped lips are painted with singular com- 
petence. The lions' heads, seen often in Vermeer's works, ap- 
pear against the hand and near the elbow. 

This painting is now called The Girl with the Red Hat, 
though it is listed in several old catalogues and inventories as 
Portrait of a Young Man. 

Signed with Vermeer's monogram in the upper left corner. 

Canvas, 9 V& inches by 7 V% inches. 

This Vermeer was in the Lafontaine Collection, Paris, 
whence in 1822 it passed to the ownership of General the 
Baron Atthalin, Colmar; bequeathed to his grandson, Laurent 
Atthalin; Baroness Laurent Atthalin; brought to the United 
States by Knoedler & Co. and by them sold to Andrew W. 
Mellon for a price said to be $290,000. 

The painting is unmistakably by Vermeer at his best. Some 
attributions made during the years of Vermeer's ever-growing 
vogue have seemed very doubtful; this one stands on a basis of 
manner and technique that could hardly be attributed to any- 
one else. The execution is unfaltering throughout; the technical 
problems, several of them difficult, have been boldly and easily 

One of the best bits is the painting of the mouth, as fine as 
that of the mouth of the famous Girl at The Hague. The planes 
of the nose are beautifully delineated, and the pearl is exquisitely 
made. With it all goes a colour tone richer than in some Ver- 
meers, perhaps because the underpainting is either less dis- 
cernible or " comes through " more agreeably than elsewhere. 

134 Vermeer 

The Smiling Girl 
also known as Head of a Young Girl 

Collection of the A. W. Mellon Educational and 
Charitable Trust, Washington 

Plate 23 
Painting of a smiling girl's head and shoulders. She looks over 
the left shoulder, her head in three-quarters. The eyes are rather 
wide open for a smiling face. The hair is brushed back from a 
high, broad forehead, and over it is a small cap or coif. The 
familiar pear-shaped pearl dangles from the right ear. Under 
a severely plain white collar is a nondescript grey-brown gar- 
ment. The background is of a dark grey-green tone. 

Canvas , 1 5 % inches by 1 2 !4 inches. 

Formerly in the collections of Walter Kurt Rohde, Berlin, 
and of Duveen Brothers, London. 

This painting has been the subject of surmises more entertain- 
ing than conclusive. The catalogue of the Amsterdam sale, 
1696, mentions No. 38 as a " Portrait in an Antique Costume." 
This has plausibly been thought to be the Head of a Young Girl, 
the Mauritshuis, The Hague. No. 39 is listed as A like picture, 
also by Vermeer. Several writers have believed this to be the 
Head in the Arenberg Collection, Brussels. No. 40 is described 
as A similar picture, by him. The Smiling Girl, it has been as- 
serted, is this picture. 

The late Dr. Wilhelm von Bode, of the Kaiser Friedrich 
Museum, Berlin, certified the head now in the Mellon Collec- 
tion as " a fairly early work of the Delft master, Vermeer." 
This dating is hard to understand if one believes, as do several 
authorities, that Vermeer's daughter, or daughters, posed for 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 135 

the Hague Head and the Arenberg Head. Vermeer married in 
1653 and died in 1675. If the Mellon Head is a daughter it 
should have been painted about 1670, relatively late in the 
artist's career. 

The Mellon picture is not so good, technically, as the famous 
Hague Head of a Girl. The latter is astonishingly fine in the 
general light and shade of the face and in the making of the 
nose and mouth. In The Smiling Girl's favour, however, one 
can say that no other painter but Vermeer ever posed a head in 
quite that way or painted it with quite that technique. 

The Lace Maker 

Collection of the A. W. Mellon Educational and 
Charitable Trust, Washington 

Plate 24 
Her left hand holding a bobbin, a young girl, placed rather 
low in the picture, sits before a lace maker's frame. She may 
be identical with the girl in the Brunswick Girl with the Wine 
Glass. She looks over her left shoulder. Under a white lace col- 
lar she wears a yellow jacket with lace cuffs. A blue cushion, 
similar to that of the Louvre Lace Maker, lies on a table be- 
tween the girl and the spectator, by her left shoulder. In front 
of this is a dish of silver or pewter, which appears to be the 
same as the one in the Metropolitan Museum picture, Young 
Woman Opening a Casement. The background is of whitish 

Canvas, 1 7 % inches by 1 5 Vi inches. 

Formerly in the collection of Harold R. Wright, London. 
Exhibited at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, 1926-27. 

136 Vermeer 

Bought, 1928, by Andrew W. Mellon through Sir Joseph 

Attributed to Vermeer by three authorities of the State 
Museums, Berlin: Dr. Max J. Friedlander, director of the de- 
partment of prints and engravings, the late Dr. Wilhelm von 
Bode, director, and Dr. Hermann Boss, curator of paintings. 
Dr. Eduard Plietzsch has suggested that this painting is perhaps 
identical with the Woman Making Lace, sold at auction, July 
8, 1 817, (Hofstede de Groot, No. 12-b), of which there is no 
further record. 

While it hardly measures up to the very high standard set by 
the Lace Maker of the Louvre, this painting has engaging quali- 
ties of design and execution. Several of the details, notably the 
cushion, the dish, the pearl, the frame for lace making, are well 
painted. The hands are somewhat weak and the mouth not very 
well made. The handling lacks the crispness of the Girl with the 
Red Hat. The face is pretty but painted weakly, whereas one 
thinks of Vermeer's heads as generally plain but strongly 
painted. The still life, which is good, may be contrasted with 
that in the Louvre Lace Maker. In the latter the handling is not 
so loose as in this one, but is firm and almost blocky. 

The Concert 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Fenway 
{Fenway Court), Boston 

Plate 25 

A group about a harpsichord. A young girl, seated, facing 

in profile to the right, plays. She wears a silk gown and has 

ribbons in her hair. A gentleman sits near the instrument, his 

back to the spectator. Standing near by, in three-quarters, to- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 137 

wards the right of the canvas and facing left, is a lady, wearing 
a jacket trimmed with white swansdown. She holds in her left 
hand a scrap of paper at which she glances while with her right 
hand she beats time. The man has a coat of nondescript colour, 
over which is stretched a bandolier; he sits in a chair upholstered 
in green and blue tapestry. Over the girl's head is a large land- 
scape. The painting inside the harpsichord cover sets off the 
man's head, and another picture relieves the woman's head. 
The wall is of a violet grey. A table in the foreground, to the 
left, is covered with a crumpled rug, and it bears a guitar. A 
violoncello lies near by on the floor, which is in black and white 
tessellated pavement. 

Canvas , 27% inches by 24% inches. 

The 193 1 catalogue of the Gardner Museum, by Mr. Philip 
Hendy, states that this painting was brought from Holland 
probably by Baroness van Leyden, in whose sale it appeared 
in Paris (Paillet et Delaroche), September 10, 1804, No. 62, 
fully described. It reappeared in London April 2, i860 (Chris- 
tie's, No. 49, A Musical Party), as part of the property of a 
baronet, and was bought by the dealer, Arthur Tooth, (the 
mark April 2/60 is in chalk on the back of the canvas). It was 
bought after December, 1886, by Theophile Thore. At his 
sale in Paris, December 5, 1892, Hotel Druot, he Concert, No. 
31, was bought by Mrs. Gardner herself for 29,000 francs. For 
an entertaining account of this sale, at which both the Louvre 
and the National Gallery were bidders for The Concert, see 
" Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court," by Morris 
Carter, page 134. 

The Fenway Court Vermeer was painted in the artist's best 
period and manner. It is particularly fine in design. The back- 
ground is essential to the pattern — a distinctive quality in 

138 Vermeer 

which Vermeer resembles no other Netherland painter. The 
figures are far back in the canvas, being almost against the wall. 
This is a peculiarity of arrangement which, among Vermeer's 
other works, appears only in the Windsor Castle Music Lesson, 
which may well have been painted at about the same time. 

The introduction of the dark table with massed draperies, 
which serve as a foil to the rest of the composition, is thor- 
oughly characteristic of Vermeer. 

The most charming figure, it may be thought, is that of the 
young girl, playing. The other figures, per contra, are some- 
what stupid. It is even possible to regret that Vermeer ever met 
the man who appears in this painting. The standing lady is more 
successful than the man, though she lacks distinction. 

That The Concert is a key painting in fixing the chronology 
of Vermeer's works, is suggested by Dr. W. R. Valentiner in 
his article " Vermeer and the Masters of Dutch Genre Paint- 
ing," The Pantheon, October, 1932. It apparently served as a 
prototype for Jan Steen's picture The Harpsichord Lesson, 
dated 1656. It therefore should be dated, according to Dr. 
Valentiner, among the earlier of Vermeer's works. The article 
adds: " The young lady at the piano in the picture in the 
Gardner Collection wears a bodice of the same style as the 
Girl Reading a Letter in Dresden and the girl in The Soldier 
and the Laughing Girl in the Frick Collection, both pictures 
which have been assigned to a comparatively early period. 
These two paintings and the picture in the Gardner Collection 
are evidently chronological neighbours; for it cannot well be as- 
sumed that Vermeer's model wore the same bodice longer than 
two or three years." Starting from the dating which seems to 
have been approximately established for The Concert Dr. 
Valentiner has produced a very plausible chronological order 
for most of the known Vermeers. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 139 

Dirck van Baburen's picture of The Procuress is seen hang- 
ing on the wall in The Concert and in A Young Lady Seated at 
the Spinet in the National Gallery. Mr. Wilenski on page 44 
of his " Introduction to Dutch Art " calls attention to this cir- 
cumstance and considers that the picture must have belonged to 
Vermeer and hung in his studio. " This fact," says Mr. Wilen- 
ski, " is at present the artist's main title to fame." Incidentally 
Mr. Wilenski notes that in the National Gallery picture the 
van Baburen picture is in a gold frame; in the Gardner painting, 
in a black frame. In the exhibition of paintings by Vermeer and 
other Dutch artists at the Boy mans Museum, Rotterdam, 1935, 
this work by van Baburen was shown, having been lent for the 
purpose by the Rijks Museum, Amsterdam. 

Portrait of a Lady 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Edwards, Cincinnati 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Plate 26 
Bust length portrait of a young woman whose dark hair, 
combed close to the head, is partly covered by a small cap. She 
has large pearl earrings. Around her shoulders is a white ker- 
chief. The dress, of which only a narrow strip is visible, is dark. 

Canvas, 8 % inches by 7 inches. 

Sold to Mr. Edwards by Herr Bottenwiesser, dealer, Berlin. 
Said to have been owned at one time in Norway. 

Regarding the attribution of this picture to Jan Vermeer of 
Delft, the following diverse opinions are here set down as mat- 
ters of record. 

On the one hand, Dr. von Bode, of the Kaiser Friedrich 

140 Vermeer 

Museum, Berlin, on July 24, 1924, wrote: " An unquestionable 
and most characteristic and delightful work by Jan Vermeer of 
Delft, from his best period." And Dr. Friedlander, of the Print 
Cabinet of the same museum, considered that the picture 
" agrees entirely in style, colour and conception with this 
world-famous master's work, showing his cool and delight- 
fully pearly lustre." And Dr. Hofstede de Groot, in Septem- 
ber, 1924, wrote that he considered the painting " an authentic 
and characteristic work by Johannes Vermeer of Delft." 

On the other hand Dr. W. R. Valentiner, Director of the 
Detroit Institute of Arts, under date of March 30, 1930, wrote 
concerning this work: " This, in my opinion, while it is of the 
period, is surely not by Vermeer, and I believe that which has 
been told to me from several sides — that it was cut out of a 
larger composition which looked very little like Vermeer 
when it was complete — is most likely true." To this may be 
added the implied opinion of the editors of the catalogue 
of the "Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1450-1900," held at the 
Royal Academy, Burlington House, London, in 1929, in 
which this picture is listed merely as " attributed to Johannes 

A Woman Weighing Gold 
sometimes called A Woman Weighing Pearls 

Widener Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia 

Plate 27 
Either weighing gold or testing the weights of her scales to 
weigh some pearls lying near by, a lady stands close to an open 
window. Over a red and yellow under jacket the woman wears 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 141 

a dark blue jacket trimmed with ermine. The table cover is of 
dark blue; the window curtain, orange yellow. On the wall is 
a large picture, apparently of The Last Judgment. The floor 
is in black and white tiling or marble. 

Not signed. Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot, in his " Catalogue of 
Dutch Painters," 1907, states that it is signed and on panel. In 
the summer of 1 9 1 o, however, as he has related in the Burling- 
ton Magazine in December of that year, Dr. de Groot tells 
how he sought out and identified the picture in the collection 
of the Comtesse de Segur, sister of the late President Casimir- 
Perier. " Some years ago," Dr. de Groot writes, " I described 
the picture, guided by the Perier Sale Catalogue, then the only 
available source of information. In my description I made two 
regrettable mistakes, and should like to use this opportunity 
of correcting them: the picture is not signed and is not painted 
on wood, but on ca?ivas." 

Ca?ivas, 1 6/4 inches by 14 inches. 

Sales: No. 1 in the sale at Amsterdam, 1696, 155 florins, in- 
cluding a case; Amsterdam, 1701, No. 6, 1 1 3 florins; Nieuhoff, 
Amsterdam, 1777, No. 116, 235 florins (van den Bogaerd); 
Collection of the King of Bavaria, Munich, 1826, No. 101, 800 
florins; Marquis de Caraman, Paris, 1830; Casimer-Perier, Lon- 
don, 1848, £141. 15s.; bought in by M. Casimer-Perier, fils; 
Collection Segur-Perier, Paris, where, as just related, it was 
discovered by Dr. de Groot in 19 10; it subsequently passed 
through the hands of Messrs. P. and D. Colnaghi and Obach 
into the Widener Collection. 

When the picture was in the Bavarian Royal Collection at 
Munich, the King had been told that it was a Metsu. It was 

142 Vermeer 

recognized as being a Vermeer, however, by the Marquis de 
Caraman, French ambassador at Vienna from 181 6 to 1827. 
The Marquis purchased it in 1826 when it was sold from the 
Bavarian Royal Collection, and placed it in his collection at 
Vienna. After his return to France, his collection was sold at 
auction at Paris in 1830, as noted above. 

This painting, clearly, was esteemed highly in Vermeer's 
day, for its price at the 1696 sale was exceeded by the prices of 
only two other Vermeer pieces. In the sale catalogue it is de- 
scribed as being in a " case," which was probably a folding 
frame or shrine for preservation of paintings prized by the 

Its mode of composition is one favoured by Vermeer, as 
shown by the circumstance that he essayed this same general 
arrangement at least four times: in the Reader, Dresden Gal- 
lery, the Woman Reading, Rijks Museum, the Pearl Necklace, 
Berlin Gallery, and the one under consideration. The last- 
mentioned so closely resembles the Berlin example, both in place- 
ment of the figure and in the technique, that it is justifiable to 
suppose that both were painted at about the same time. The 
woman in the Widener work is older and of more distinguished 
appearance than the one at Berlin. She is, indeed, unique as a 
Vermeer model. 

In colour as well as in dark and light arrangement this paint- 
ing is typical of Vermeer. Note especially its insistence on blue 
and yellow notes and its larger secondary masses of white and 
of black. While Willem Kalf, the still life painter, and perhaps 
others of the Delft school, delighted in predominant blues and 
yellows, they did not paint the figure and its accessories with 
Vermeer's skill. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 143 

A Young Girl with a Flute 

Widener Collection, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia 

Plate 28 
Holding in her left hand a yellow flute which gives the pic- 
ture its title, a girl sits at " close-up," leaning slightly to her 
left across the panel. Her hat is of pyramidal shape, with brown, 
yellow-grey and white stripes. She wears a grey-blue bodice 
with white cuffs and stomacher; about her neck is a white 
kerchief. Over her right shoulder appears a corner of the 
back of the familiar lion-headed chair. The background is of 
tapestry, of a large design, in brown, greenish-grey and dark 

Panel, 7% inches by 7 inches. 

Discovered by Dr. Bredius, 1 906, in the collection of Jonk- 
heer de Grez, Brussels. Exhibited on loan at the Royal Gallery 
of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1907, and at the 
Pinakothek, Munich, 192 1. Described by Dr. Bredius, in Kunst 
Kronik, XVIII, 24, as " The 36th Vermeer." 

Formerly in the collections of: Jan Mahie van Boxtel en 
Liempde, of Bois-le-Duc, Holland; Mme. Maria de Grez {nee 
Mahie van Boxtel en Liempde), Brussels; Jonkheer de Grez, 
Brussels; August Janssen, Amsterdam; Knoedler & Co., New 
York; Widener Collection. 

This work is apparently a start or a sketch. Though there is 
no reason to doubt its being by Vermeer, it is curiously hot 
in colour — a circumstance possibly explained by its having 
been painted on a wood panel the warm colour of which has 
" come through." 

144 Vermeer 

A Lady Playing the Guitar 
also called Girl imth Mandolin 

The John G. Johnson Art Collection, Philadelphia 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Plate 29 
A girl, whose smiling face is turned to her right, sits in the 
left part of the picture, playing a guitar. She is dressed in a yel- 
low jacket trimmed with ermine and a white satin skirt. A 
landscape in gold frame hangs behind her. On the right, be- 
low the head of the musical instrument, is a table with blue 

Canvas, 20% inches by 17% inches. 

Mr. Henri Marceau, curator of the Johnson Collection, who 
has made a careful study of the available data regarding both 
the Johnson and the Iveagh pictures of a guitar player, with 
particular emphasis on the important fact that the Johnson pic- 
ture is on canvas whereas the Iveagh picture is on panel, gives 
(1936) the Johnson picture's history, so far as it is known, as 

" Formerly in the possession of Rt. Hon. W. Cowper- 
Temple, who lent it to the Old Masters Exhibition at Burling- 
ton House, London, 1871, (No. 266), where it was catalogued 
as by ' John Vandermeer van Delft.' The mistake has been 
made by writers who have dealt with the Iveagh Guitar Player 
of assuming that the picture lent by Rt. Hon. W. Cowper- 
Temple to the 1871 Exhibition was the Iveagh picture. The 
picture lent to that exhibition, however, as the catalogue of the 
exhibition clearly states, was a canvas, not a panel, and meas- 
ured — again according to the catalogue — 20 inches high by 
1 8 inches wide, roughly the dimensions of the Johnson picture. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 145 

Certainly no catalogue compiler's mistake could turn a canvas 
into a panel. From Rt. Hon. W. Cowper-Temple's posses- 
sion, it apparently passed into the hands of M. de Gruyter, 
Amsterdam. Writing in 1896 M. Thore (W. Burger) states 
that this picture was in M. de Gruyter's possession and was for 
sale. Not being able to buy it himself M. Thore persuaded 
Monsieur J. H. C. Cremer, Brussels, to buy it. It then passed, I 
believe, to Henry L. Bischoffsheim, London, and thence, at a 
date not yet determined, to John G. Johnson, Philadelphia. 
Our records unfortunately do not give the date of acquisition 
of the picture. We know that it was in the Collection as early 
as 1907, but prior to that have no information." 

Dr. W. R. Valentiner, who wrote the catalogue of the John- 
son Collection, says, in a letter dated February 28, 1936, regard- 
ing the acquisition of the picture by Mr. Johnson: " He paid 
$10,000 for it and bought it from Sulley in London." 

A painting with this title appears, after Vermeer's death, to 
have been in possession of his widow, and to have been one of 
two (the Love Letter, Beit Collection, being the other) with 
which the widow redeemed a debt of 6 1 7 florins. Whether this 
work was the Johnson Guitar Flayer or the one sometimes so 
called in the Iveagh Collection or perhaps some other painting, 
who can say? Further comment on this work will follow in the 
discussion of the Iveagh picture, the appearance of which, in 
the Iveagh Bequest in 1927, occasioned a controversy a con- 
tribution towards a possible settlement of which may be sug- 
gested in a letter written by Mr. Marceau, November 26, 1935, 
as follows: 

" Concerning the pedigree of the Johnson Collection Guitar 
Player, attributed to Jan Vermeer, there is perhaps no picture 
in the collection offering greater opportunity for controversy 

146 Vermeer 

than this one and I may say perhaps no other picture here has 
given rise to so much conflicting and inaccurate information. 

" For many years the Johnson picture was believed to be 
the one which, together with the Love Letter, was sold by 
Vermeer's widow to redeem a debt of some 6 1 7 florins. It was 
also identified as having appeared in a sale in Amsterdam in 
1696 when a number of other Vermeers were sold. When 
Lord Iveagh's picture came to the British nation by bequest, it 
developed that his version of the same subject threw some 
doubt on the pedigree of the Johnson picture. It is my opin- 
ion that this whole question has never been satisfactorily 

" We have tentatively assigned the Johnson picture as a con- 
temporary copy of the picture in the Iveagh Collection. Al- 
though I have not seen the Iveagh picture a comparison of the 
photographs would indicate that the English version is the 
better. There are certain passages in our picture here which 
are disturbing if they are to be considered as the work of 

" It is true, however, that our picture was restored probably 
prior to Mr. Johnson's purchase of it and some little work has 
been done on it since he acquired it. This might conceivably 
account for the thinness of the paint surfaces which are not at 
all characteristic of Vermeer's method. It has been suggested 
by one authority that our version dates a generation later than 
Vermeer but in this I do not agree. It is probably a contempo- 
rary work, done perhaps by some one in the close circle of 
Vermeer and it may even contain some of the painter's own 

" It is painted on canvas, and is not signed, despite many state- 
ments to the contrary." 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 147 

The Guitar Player 
also known as The Lute Flayer 

Iveagh Bequest, Ken Wood, Highgate, London 

Plate 30 
In the left of this picture, with her face turned towards the 
left, a young girl plays a guitar or lute. She is dressed in a yel- 
low jacket trimmed with ermine and a white satin skirt. A 
landscape in gold frame hangs behind her. On the right, be- 
hind, is a table with blue cover on which are a box and a book 
with red edges. 

Signed " J V MEER ", the J, V and M connected. 

Panel, 19% inches by 16 % inches. 

Possibly one of the two pictures with which Vermeer's 
widow paid a debt of 617 florins soon after the painter's death. 
It is said to have been owned by Mr. Evelyn Ashley, of Broad- 
lands, the seat of Lord Palmerston, at one time Prime Minister, 
and to have been sold to Messrs. Agnew in the 1880's by Mr. 
Ashley, and by them sold to Lord Iveagh, who lent it to the 
Old Masters Exhibition at Burlington House in 1892 and again 
lent it to the Agnews' Exhibition in 1922. 

For reasons which will immediately appear the Johnson 
Guitar Player and the Iveagh Guitar Player are further dis- 
cussed together. 

Describing the Iveagh Bequest of sixty-three paintings in 
the Burlington Magazine, December, 1927, Mr. A. C. R. Carter 
says: " The Iveagh Vermeer, The Guitar Player, is presumably 
the picture which was lent to Burlington House in 1892." 

Lord Iveagh, formerly Sir Edward Guinness, who left his 
collection to the British nation in 1927, formed this collection 

148 Vermeer 

largely through purchase from Sir William Agnew. A reason 
why there has been confusion as regards the Iveagh Guitar 
Player and the Johnson Guitar Player lies in the fact that Dr. 
Hofstede de Groot, in his catalogue of paintings of Vermeer 
(1907), mentions A Lady Playing a Guitar as having been 
exhibited at the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition in 1892, 
No. 46; as having been in the Amsterdam sale, May 16, 1696, 
No. 4, 70 florins; as having been sold by Ph. van der Schley 
and D. du Pre, Amsterdam, December 22, 1817, No. 62, 65 
florins, 5 (Coders); as having been in the possession of the 
dealer Gruyter, Amsterdam; as having been in the collections 
of J. H. C. Cremer, Brussels, measuring, according to M. Thore, 
21 inches by 18 inches; of Lord Iveagh; of Henry BischorT- 
sheim, London; in the possession of the dealer Gooden, 1896; 
" now in the collection of John G. Johnson, Philadelphia." 
This picture is given by Dr. de Groot as " signed in full; can- 
vas, 19 /4 inches by 16V2 inches." As Mr. Carter remarks, " if 
Stephen Gooden were alive he could definitely clear the mat- 
ter, but this specific Iveagh gift points to the Johnson posses- 
sion being another version. Lord Iveagh certainly didn't buy 
from the Agnews to resell." 

Mr. Edward Trautscholdt, in the Burlington Magazine, 
March, 1928, quotes Dr. de Groot as stating, in 1894, that two 
Lute or Guitar Players attributed to Vermeer were known to 
exist in England: one belonging to Lord Iveagh; the other in 
Mr. BischorTsheim's collection, whence it had been lent to the 
exhibition of " Fair Women," Grafton Galleries, 1894. " This 
painting," says Mr. Trautscholdt, " was already in the Bischoff- 
sheim Collection at the end of the eighties when Havard pub- 
lished his catalogue of Vermeer's works." Although Havard 
did not give the pedigree of this work Mr. Trautscholdt con- 
siders it to be the painting described by M. Thore as having 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 149 

been formerly in M. de Gruyter's collection and, in 1866, in 
the collection of M. Cremer, Brussels, who had bought it from 
M. de Gruyter. 

In describing this painting of the Cremer Collection M. 
Thore stated that " les cheveux sont retrousses mollement de 
deux cotes de la tete." Such description, as Mr. Trautscholdt 
points out, applies only to the painting in the Johnson Collec- 
tion. It seems evident, therefore, that the Johnson picture was 
never in Lord Iveagh's possession. The Iveagh painting doubt- 
less never changed hands after it was once placed in the Iveagh 

The fact having been established of the existence of these 
two paintings, of similar title, each differing from the other in 
certain particulars, a question was naturally raised as to the 
authenticity of each, towards possible settlement of which Mr. 
Marceau's letter, just quoted in connection with the Johnson 
Guitar Player, is an interesting contribution. 

Mr. R. R. Tatlock, who, as editor of the Burlington Maga- 
zine, printed Mr. Trautscholdt's contribution just cited, after 
commenting editorially on the controversy and calling at- 
tention to the differences in arrangement of the model's hair 
and in the placing of objects in the background of the two 
paintings, contends that what is really important is " the ob- 
vious fact that the Iveagh picture is on a far higher aesthetic 
plane than the Johnson one. The impasto is not only much 
richer and denser but is managed not merely for its own effect 
but in order to give significance to the system of modelling. 
There is crispness, too, in the handling of several passages in 
the Iveagh version, such as the ermine above the guitar, and, 
even more conspicuously, the dress covering the right knee, 
which is absent from the Johnson picture. The distribution of 
light and shade is much broader, more emphatic and telling in 

150 Vermeer 

the former work, and the general impression of character in 
the face is considerably subtler and somehow more real. This 
last remark applies also to the two landscapes in the picture 
within the picture. Then there are several odd details in the 
Iveagh canvas (sic) that tend to corroborate one's conviction. 
One of these is the way in which a single point of light on the 
gold frame is caught, as it were, peeping through the girl's curls. 
How typical is this of Vermeer! No one will, I believe," Mr. 
Tatlock concludes, " dispute the attribution of the Iveagh pic- 
ture to Vermeer and it seems to me quite clear that, if that be 
admitted, there is no case for the Johnson one. The same artist 
did not paint both pictures. The author of the Johnson one, un- 
fortunately, I cannot name; though, making a guess, I should 
say he belonged to the next generation." 

Mr. Francis Kleinberger, of New York, on the other hand, 
who collaborated with the late Mr. Thomas A. Kirby, presi- 
dent of the American Art Association, in appraising the John- 
son Collection for the State of Pennsylvania, has expressed posi- 
tive belief in the attribution of the Johnson Guitar Player to 
Vermeer. Mr. Royal Cortissoz, who considered the various 
evidential points concerning this painting and the one in the 
Iveagh Collection, went on record as holding that the differ- 
ences between them " do not indicate a copyist. A copyist 
would slavishly follow the composition of the copy before him, 
while the painter reproducing his own work would not un- 
naturally make changes. This is a truth which has always had its 
status in the analysis of problems of this kind. Which of these 
two Guitar Players was painted first is an open question, but it 
is impossible to accept Mr. Tatlock's assertion that the same 
hand did not paint both. Settling down to the same thing for a 
second time it would be entirely natural for Vermeer to make 
minor alterations, and even a major one, like the exchange of a 
thin impasto for a thick one, or vice versa." 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 151 

Dr. W. R. Valentiner, Director of the Detroit Institute of 
Arts, and a leading authority on Dutch painting, who has him- 
self examined and compared both the Iveagh and the Johnson 
pictures, says, in a letter dated February 28, 1936: " I am con- 
vinced that the Guitar Player in the Iveagh Collection is better 
than the one in the Johnson Collection and the only original of 
the two." 

There are five minor points which would cause any observ- 
ant portrait painter to concede the superiority of the Iveagh 

1 . The background is brought very light against the shadow 
of the head. This is a motive which Vermeer often used. He 
painted the wall, in this instance, as it looked by way of con- 
trast instead of figuring out how it ought to be. 

2. The arrangement of the hair, which is not unlike that of 
the Louvre Lace Maker and the Beit Girl at a Spinet, is one 
which is more usual with Vermeer than is that in the Johnson 
work, in which it is parted in the middle, braided and wound 
around the head. The Lady with a Lute, to be sure, in the Metro- 
politan Museum, has her hair trigly triced up, but there seem 
to be more of Vermeer's women who have carelessly flowing 
locks than of those with hair smoothly arranged. It may be 
added that Mr. Paul Ettinger, writing in the Burlington Maga- 
zine, February, 1928, says of the Johnson Guitar Player: "I 
have always been struck by the style in which the lady's hair 
is dressed, a style quite unknown in Holland during the seven- 
teenth century." 

3. The manner in which a high light on the frame shows 
through the hair is decidedly a Vermeer touch. No copyist 
would be likely to think of doing it that way. It could be done 
only from nature or by closely following a painted work. This 
point alone seems to prove that the Iveagh painting could not 
have been copied from the Johnson one; it is humanly possible, 

152 Vermeer 

though improbable, that some one copying vice versa thought 
the high light on the frame a false touch and omitted it. 

4. The light and shade of the Iveagh head, though not alto- 
gether satisfying, is more in Vermeer's manner than that of the 
Johnson head. The half-tone is manifestly too dark, as, how- 
ever, it notably is in the Soldier and the Laughing Girl, Frick 
Collection. The manner of making the nose and forehead is 
more like Vermeer's particular kind of " wrongness " than is 
the hesitant fumbling in the modelling of the head of the 
Johnson picture. 

5. Comparison of good photographic reproductions of both 
pictures gives a sense of a superior crispness of the geometric 
forms throughout the Iveagh work. In this, as if by an intel- 
lectual effort, the precise shape of triangle or oblong of tone 
has been registered. The same shape, more generalized, with 
its edges less perceptively studied, will be found to reappear in 
the Johnson picture. Any who have made copies of, or imita- 
tions after, paintings by great masters will recall their own ef- 
forts to avoid this ever-present liability to lose the specific 
quality of the master's " solid geometry." 

The Music Lesson 

also called A Lady and a Gentleman at a Spinet and 

A Young Woman Flaying on a Harpsichord 

Plate 2 
Royal Collection, Great Britain, generally known as the 
" Windsor Castle Vermeer," though it has also been hung at 
Buckingham Palace. 

Well back in a large room, and somewhat at the right of the 
canvas, stand a man and a woman; the former in profile regard- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 153 

ing her intently, the latter, her back turned to the spectator, 
touching the keyboard of a spinet of ornate design, with raised 
cover, on which is inscribed " Musica Letitiae Comes Medicina 
Doloris." Behind the instrument hangs a mirror, reflecting the 
woman's youthful head and shoulders. The light comes through 
quaint leaded glass windows, extreme left. In the foreground, 
lower right, is a table covered with a rug, and on this is a salver 
bearing the white jug, which, like the rug, was an accessory 
frequently used by Vermeer. Behind and to the left of the table 
stands a chair studded with brass nails, and hard by it on the 
tessellated marble floor is a violoncello. 

Canvas, 29 inches by 25 inches. 

Purchased on the Continent for the Roval Collection as a 


Frans van Mieris by Richard Dalton, librarian and keeper of 
pictures to King George III. Exhibited at the Royal Acad- 
emy, Winter Exhibition, 1876, and at the London Guildhall, 

The Music Lesson has been supposed to be identical with 
No. 6 of the 1696 sale. 

Says Mr. James Henry Duveen, in his " Art Treasures and 
Intrigue," 1935, of Richard Dalton's purchase: " It is owing to 
his lack of knowledge that the Royal Collection includes one of 
its rarest pictures. He bought the Young Woman Flaying on 
a Harpsichord by Vermeer as a Frans van Mieris, a most for- 
tunate mistake, because a Frans van Mieris is worth about a 
hundredth part of a Vermeer! This picture, which was prob- 
ably bought for less than a hundred pounds, is today worth 
from £80,000 to £100,000! The comic side of the mistake is 
that Frans van Mieris was then very fashionable and Vermeer 
forgotten and worthless. . . . There are about forty of his 

154 Vermeer 

pictures left to us, and it is quite safe to say that their present 
aggregate value is not less than five million pounds." 

In design this is one of Vermeer's most subtly beautiful 
paintings. There is no portion of the composition which is not 
exquisitely dovetailed into the adjoining passages. The student 
of design should notice especially the way the gallant's shoulder 
comes against the picture behind him; how delightfully his head 
punctuates the wall space to its rear; how well his loose cuff 
fills the interval between his coat and the spinet. Notice also 
how the woman's head just breaks the short upper line of the 
spinet cover, and how her sleeve comes at precisely the right 
place in relation to the keyboard; how the pannier of her dress 
cuts the lower line of the spinet as it most agreeably should. 
The composition is full of these felicities the sum total of which 
makes the design superbly lovely. 

A Young Lady at the Virginals 
National Gallery, London 

Plate 31 
Her hands lightly touching the keys of a pair of virginals, a 
quilled keyboard instrument popular in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, a young woman stands in profile in the centre of the pic- 
ture, looking over her right shoulder towards the spectator. 
Her costume consists of a blue silk bodice, over which is a 
mantle trimmed with lace, and a white satin skirt. She wears 
a string of pearls. The virginals, severe in line, have an Italianate 
landscape on the inside cover. On the wall behind the lady is 
a black-framed painting of a Cupid, upholding what is assumed 
to be the lucky number. A smaller picture hangs to the left — 
a landscape in ornate gold frame. The light is from a leaded 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 155 

window, extreme left; a curtain is above this. Above the black 
and white tesselated pavement Delft tiles form a baseboard. 
The wall is of a nondescript colour, as often rendered by 

Signed "Iv Meer" (the I and M intertwined). 

Canvas, 20 inches by 18 inches. 

Possibly the Lady Playing a Spinet of the 1696 sale. Sold, 
according to M. Thore, at Amsterdam, July 1 1, 17 14, 55 florins, 
the reference to which sale in the Hoet Catalogue, Vol. I, p. 176, 
is as follows: "12. Een Klavecimbaelspeelster in een Kamer, 
van Vermeer van Delft, Konstig geschildert, 55—0." Dr. 
Hofstede de Groot, however, thinks that this picture may be 
the other National Gallery Vermeer, A Young Lady Seated at 
the Spinet, from the Salting Collection, since the dimensions are 
not given. It has belonged to the Jan Danser Nijman Collection, 
from which it was sold in 1 797; to the Edward Solly Collection, 
London, sold 1847; to Madame Lacroix, Paris; to M. Thore, 
Paris; bought through Lawrie and Company, from the Thore 
Sale, Paris, December 5, 1892, for ^2400, for the National 

The Young Lady at the Virginals is one of Vermeer's most 
skilful paintings. In it he quite overcame the sometimes stodgy 
handling of his youth and did everything crisply and neatly. 
The satin skirt is painted with remarkable skill. There is no 
passage, indeed, in which the hand falters, unless possibly in the 
lady's ridiculous curls — and even here the painter was doubt- 
less the victim of a foolish fashion. 

Any qualification of praise of this National Gallery Vermeer 
concerns only its state of preservation. Though very fine in de- 
sign and space-filling qualities, it has acquired, presumably 
through over-cleaning, a greenish tone. The canvas, to use a 

156 Vermeer 

term of the studios, has been " skinned." It is likely that Ver- 
meer, following a fashion to which Rubens gave currency, 
sometimes started his picture from a blue underpainting to 
which he applied glazes of yellow lake and other warm pig- 
ments. If the glazing faded or was rubbed off the tonal result 
would be as in this work. 

It hardly need be added that there is cleaning of paintings 
which greatly injures them. Very few are competent to clean 
an old master properly, and those who are really expert at it are 
sure to be the most cautious and conservative. 

A Young Lady Seated at the Spinet 
National Gallery, London 

Plate 32 

Before a marbled spinet at the left of the painting sits a young 
girl in blue costume, facing the spectator, her hands on the key- 
board. The cover of the instrument, which is tilted backwards, 
has a landscape decoration. In the extreme foreground, left, is 
a violoncello, partly cut off by the side and lower lines of the 
picture. The light from the window, left, is somewhat obscured 
by a large tapestry curtain. Delft tiles form a baseboard, and 
the floor is in black and white tiles. 

As already noted in connection with The Concert in the 
Gardner Collection in Boston, the picture entitled The Pro- 
curess by Dirck van Baburen is shown hanging on the wall 
behind the young lady as she sits at the spinet. 

Signed on wall to right of girl's head: " J v Meer " (the J 
and M intertwined) . 

Canvas, io x A inches by 18 inches. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 157 

Dr. Hofstede de Groot thinks that this may be No. 37 of 
the 1696 sale. It was discovered by M. Thore in the gallery 
of Count von Schonborn's Schloss Weissenstein, near Pom- 
mersfelden, in Bavaria, a castle built in 1711-18. In the cata- 
logue of the von Schonborn Collection, it was attributed to 
" Jacob van der Meer." These facts were set forth by M. Thore 
in his Gazette des Beaux-Arts articles in 1866. Dr. de Groot 
gives record of the sale of the painting at Paris, May 17, 1867, 
from the von Schonborn Collection Sale. At the Thore Sale, 
Paris, December 5, 1892, No. 32, 25,000 francs; exhibited at the 
Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, 1 894, lent by T. Humphry 
Ward; in the possession of the Paris dealer Ch. Sedelmeyer, 
" Catalogue of 300 Paintings," 1898, No. 85; in the collection 
of George Salting, London, whence, by bequest to the British 
nation, 19 10, it passed to the National Gallery, London, No. 

This is an extremely skilful performance, even for Vermeer. 
It reveals no faltering anywhere, even though the observation 
of nuances is not so close as in some of his other works. The 
piece has defects of its qualities. Everything, evidently, went so 
easily that Vermeer was not tempted to work intensively. As 
a painting it thus somewhat lacks quality. Though the drapery 
was made with notable ease and freedom this rendering was too 
palpably en longue; the touch, in other words, runs too much 
with the form, and one does not get a sense of the light sliding 
across the form, as in some Vermeers. The head, on the other 
hand, is painted with much sophistication, and with due regard 
to the incidence of the light upon it. The nose, interestingly, is 
modeled much as in the Head of a Young Girl at The Hague, 
though with observation that is less close. 

158 Vermeer 

A Love Letter 
also called Young Lady Writing 

Beit Collection, London 

Plate 33 

Inditing a letter at a table a young woman sits, right of the 
picture, while a servant, centre, stands with folded arms and 
looks over her shoulder towards the window, left. 

The young woman, who leans forward, wears a quaint cap 
and a low-cut bodice with short sleeves. The table is spread 
with the rug of reddish hue often used by Vermeer. A chair 
with velvet upholstery fills in the foreground, lower right. 
The pavement is of black and white marble. 

The lighting is from a stained or painted glass window, cov- 
ered by a thin curtain the upper part of which is irradiated with 
translucent light. On the discreet grey wall, behind both figures, 
hangs a very large picture. It seems to represent the Finding of 
Moses. In the window to the left is a coat-of-arms, no longer 
possible of identification. 

Signed on a sheet of paper hanging from the table in shadow, 
" J v Meer " (the J and M intertwined) . 

Canvas, 2 8 inches by 2 3 inches. 

This picture was after Vermeer's death in the possession of 
his widow, Catharina Bolnes. It was given by her to a baker 
for a debt of 617 florins, together with a picture of a lady 
playing a guitar. Sales: Josua van Belle, Rotterdam, Septem- 
ber 6, 1730, No. 92, 155 florins; Franco van Bleiswijck Col- 
lection, Delft; inherited by Hendrik van Slingelandt, The 
Hague, 1734; Miller von Aichholz Collection, Vienna; E. Se- 
cretan Sale, Paris, July 1, 1889, No. 140, 62,000 francs; in the 
possession of M. Sedelmeyer, Paris, 1898, " Catalogue of 300 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 159 

Paintings," No. 86; Marianoni Collection, Paris; in the posses- 
sion of F. Kleinberger, Paris, by whom it was sold to Alfred 
Beit, London; Sir Otto Beit, London, d. December, 1930; 
Lady Beit, London. 

The leading of the glass in the window is somewhat similar 
in pattern to that of the window in other pictures by Vermeer 
at Berlin, Brunswick, New York, and in the Windsor Castle 
Music Lesson. The picture which is hanging on the wall ap- 
pears also, in smaller form, in the Astronomer of the Rothschild 
Collection in Paris. 

A notable circumstance of this painting, technically one of 
the artist's most adequate, is that its chiaroscuro is markedly 
effective. It is more Rembrandtesque, in brief, than are most 
of Vermeer's other works; not that the technique is particu- 
larly like Rembrandt's, but by reason of less emphasis than 
Vermeer usually gave to reflected lights and less dependence 
on linear design, the composition gets its effectiveness con- 
siderably from its disposition of dark and light masses. In paint 
quality, too, it is " fatter " than are some of Vermeer's other 

Young Girl at a Spinet 
Beit Collection, London 

Plate 34 
At a spinet, only a portion of which is seen, extreme left of 
the picture, sits a girl, her head in three-quarters towards the 
spectator, her hands on the keys. She wears a dress of white 
satin with a shawl over it. 

Canvas, 9 Vi inches by 7 V2 inches. 
Sale: W. Reyers, Amsterdam, 18 14. 

160 Vermeer 

Head of a Young Man 
Possibly a portrait of Simon Decker 

Collection of Ernest W. Savory, Bristol, England 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft 

Plate 35 
The head and shoulders, down to the elbows, of a young 
man with long flowing hair are depicted. The head is nearly 
full face, turning to the sitter's left. He has a rather low fore- 
head, a very long nose, extremely full lips over which is a 
minute mustache. He wears a white handkerchief with elabo- 
rately painted fringe. 

Signed with the monogram "IV M." 
Canvas, 23 inches by 18 inches. 

This painting was sold at a London salesroom, 1922, and was 
subsequently acquired by the present owner. When the old 
varnish and certain overpainting were removed the monogram 
I V M was discovered in the background. 

Certain Netherland authorities, when consulted regarding 
the painting, would not concede that it could be by Vermeer, 
but asserted that it is a characteristic self-portrait by Adriaen 
van de Velde. 

M. Guiffrey, director of the Louvre, on the other hand, Dr. 
Hans Vollmer, editor of Thieme's Dictionary of Painters and 
a late director of the Buda-Pesth Gallery, Sir Joseph Duveen, 
Mr. P. S. Konody, Mr. Arthur Ruck and Mr. E. V. Lucas were 
unanimous in pronouncing this a work by Vermeer of Delft. 
There came, furthermore, into Mr. Savory's hands a copy of 
an old wood engraving of this subject showing below the lower 
left corner the engraved line: " J. Vander Meer pinxit," and on 
the right, partly obliterated through a tear in the paper, the 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 161 

name of the engraver, " — noboni, Sc." Vermeer's monogram 
appears in this engraving exactly where it figures in the paint- 
ing itself. On the paper mount, in pencil, is inscribed the name 
of Simon Decker, who has been assumed to be the sitter. Simon 
Decker was a sexton at Delft and lost his life in 1654 in the 
explosion in which Carel Fabritius was killed. See Plate 36. 

Monograms on paintings are not conclusive, as they can be 
forged. An expert restorer, however, who handled the painting 
in question has certified that the repainting which he removed 
was at least a century old. As the monogram was found under 
the repainting it must be older than the early nineteenth cen- 
tury, at which time Vermeer had no reputation and hence was 
unlikely to be selected by a forger for exploitation. 

The technique of this canvas has been thought to be like that 
of the Portrait of a Woman at Buda-Pesth, but it can hardly be 
said to have the convincing rectitude of the latter, the meticu- 
lous and yet broad treatment of the accessories or the beautiful 
separation of light and shade on the face. The Bristol work, 
nevertheless, has opalescent greys which are quite Vermeer- 

If, indeed, this Head of a Young Man is by Vermeer, and if 
the sitter is Decker, the Delft sexton, it must be a very early 
work, painted before 1654. Its being a youthful performance 
might account for its not being of first quality. A photograph 
of the painting was published in Illustrated London Neivs, 
November 15, 1924, and Literary Digest, December 13, 1924. 
The latter periodical published also, from Houbraken's 
" Groote Schouberg," an engraved self-portrait of Adriaen van 
de Velde, which, as studied by Dr. de Groot, seemed to justify 
a belief that this man is identical with the Young Man of the 
Savory Collection. 

\6i Vermeer 

A Young Girl 
Collection of Anthony F. Reyre, London 

Plate 37 
Head and shoulders of a young woman, with brown eyes and 
hair. Under the white collar is a yellowish dress. The blue rib- 
bon on the breast is echoed by a blue hair-ribbon. 

Canvas, 1 2 !4 inches by 9 !4 inches. 

Formerly in the collection of Charles E. Carruthers, Esq., 
Batheaston, Somerset, England. It was catalogued (No. 62) 
as a Vermeer at Christie's, London, March 23, 1934, and de- 
scribed under the title " An Auctioned ' Ugly Duckling ' be- 
comes a Swan: a Vermeer Revealed," by Mr. Frank Davis in 
Illustrated London News, April 20, 1935. 

Mr. Davis reports that this painting was sold for ^504, and 
was placed on public view, May 1, 1935, at an exhibition of 
Old Masters' Paintings, Gallery of Mr. A. F. Reyre, 22, Old 
Bond Street. He adds: " Very careful cleaning, relining and 
conservative restoration have brought this delicious and sensitive 
portrait of a girl (possibly one of the painter's own daughters) 
to its present satisfactory condition." 

Writing of this picture in the Burlington Magazine for 
June, 1935, Dr. Tancred Borenius says: " The character of the 
craquelure throughout the picture offers in itself a very strong 
argument in favour of Vermeer's authorship; and the same is 
true of the handling of the paint, notably in such passages as 
the lace edging the collar. Apart from these details of tech- 
nique, the whole scheme of colour, its power of luminosity and 
vivacity of sparkle (in passages such as the ear-rings and the 
hair-ribbon) strongly suggest no one but Vermeer; and in its 
utter simplicity of disposition, the picture has a sense of bulk 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 163 

and imposing architectural construction, which point in one 
direction alone." 

Dr. W. R. Valentiner writes, under date of September 27, 
1935: "I consider The Head of a Girl, now belonging to 
Reyre in London, an original." 

The picture was in the Vermeer exhibition at the Boymans 
Museum, Rotterdam, 1935. 

Christ in the House of Mary and Martha 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 

Plate 38 
The Saviour sits in profile towards the right of the canvas. 
He looks upward at Martha, who leans towards Him holding 
a basket in which a loaf of bread is seen. His left hand hangs 
over the arm of the chair. His right hand is extended towards 
Mary who in the lower left foreground sits at His feet. He 
wears a dull blue garment. Martha's bodice is of a yellow check 
with red border; she has white sleeves and on her head a kerchief 
of curious yellow hue. Mary, clad in blue and red, has a parti- 
coloured cloth of white and red extending from her head down 
over her shoulders. Her head is relieved against a white table 
cloth, and behind her is seen an oriental rug, the undercloth 
of the table. Christ's right hand, according to an indication still 
visible, was originally painted in a position somewhat different 
from that which it now has. 

Signed, lower left, on edge of bench on which Mary sits: 
" I v Meer " (monogram). This signature was first discerned in 
1 90 1. 

Canvas, 6i x A inches by 55 Vi inches. 

1 64 Vermeer 

Bought by a furniture dealer from a family in Bristol for £8. 
Arthur Leslie Collection; sold to Forbes and Paterson, Lon- 
don, April, 1 901; W. A. Coats Collection, Skelmorlie Castle; 
gift of W. A. Coats to the National Gallery of Scotland, Edin- 
burgh, and transferred by his two sons in 1927. 

This painting was described by Dr. Tancred Borenius in the 
Burlington Magazine, January, 1923, his exposition of its pos- 
sibly Italianate affinity seeming to be very important. It is 
brought out in the article that at about the time when Vermeer, 
born in 1632, was growing up in Holland, Bernardo Cavallino, 
of Naples (born 1622 and died 1654), painted a picture en- 
titled The Death of St. Joseph, now in the Naples Museum. It 
is a good work of art which no one thought of connecting with 
Vermeer until Dr. Borenius called attention to the fact that 
the head and hands of its figure of Christ are almost precisely 
the same as the head and hands of the figure of the Saviour in the 
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha. See Plate 39. 

" Cavallino," says Dr. Borenius, after referring to the surmise 
of Vermeer's having studied in Italy, "died in 1654. There 
would thus just have been time for Vermeer as a young man 
to come into personal contact with Cavallino prior to his ac- 
quiring the mastership at Delft at the end of 1653." 

The similarity of the head and hands in the two paintings to 
which Dr. Borenius adverts is clearly more than a distant re- 
semblance — it is such that photographs of the two are difficult 
to tell apart. One of these pictures, quite evidently, was copied 
from the other. The identical twist of the thumbs should con- 
vince any practising painter of this certainty. 

Admitting it as a probability that amounts almost to assur- 
ance that one of the paintings was in part copied from the other, 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 165 

one is led to four possibilities any one of which might be ex- 

1. Vermeer may have visited Italy, may there have studied 
with or known Bernardo Cavallino and had an opportunity to 
copy after him details for inclusion in a picture of his own. 

2. Cavallino may have been in Holland — he is stated 
(" Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers ") to have 
studied the works of Rubens and Poussin. It thus would have 
been possible for him to be Vermeer's master, friend or ac- 

3. Leonard Bramer (1596-c. 1667), conjecturally brother of 
Vermeer's godfather, Peter Bramer, may have studied with 
Cavallino in Italy and may have brought home with him either 
a copy of Cavallino's picture or one in which the head and hand 
of Christ had been copied after Cavallino. 

4. There may have been, as Mr. R. H. Wilenski has sug- 
gested, a contact about 1649-50 between Vermeer and Dirck 
van Baburen, whose picture of The Procuress appears as hang- 
ing on the wall in Vermeer's Lady at the Virginals (National 
Gallery) and in his Concert (Gardner Museum). Baburen, as 
Mr. Wilenski notes, is known to have gone to Italy and to have 
been impressed by Caravaggio, his Procuress being in the Cara- 
vaggio-Honthorst tradition. Cavallino and Caravaggio painted 
somewhat alike, and it would have been natural for Baburen, 
while at Naples, to make a copy after Cavallino. 

Reservations regarding each of these foregoing conjectures 
suggest themselves. 

It is unlikely that Vermeer could have gone to Italy, studied 
and completed his W anderjahr and so returned to Holland be- 
fore he was twenty-one, at which age he entered the Guild of 
St. Luke. If, furthermore, he had been in Italy, it is improbable 

166 Vermeer 

that he would have immediately, if at all, have submitted him- 
self to the influence of Fabritius, as Arnold Bon's poem says 
he did. 

Even if Cavallino at some time visited Holland it is not alto- 
gether plausible to assume that he brought with him from 
Naples this painting, or copies of or studies from it. 

Bramer could, of course, for anything known to the con- 
trary, have been in Naples, could have copied the Cavallino 
painting in whole or in part and could have brought his copy 
home with him to Delft where portions of it might have been 
used by Vermeer for copying. The latter's technique, never- 
theless, in the works which can be attributed to him unre- 
servedly, indicates that he depended on having the model before 
him; and for a man not yet twenty-one to have made a copy 
from a copy so marvellously that the second copy looks closely 
like the original would be much of a feat. 

A personal conclusion is this: that quite conceivably the 
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, even though bearing 
a Vermeer signature, was not painted by Vermeer at all but 
by some other clever young Hollander, — perhaps Bramer, per- 
haps Baburen, conceivably the mysterious Vermeer of Utrecht, 
if such a painter ever actually existed — who at Naples saw the 
Cavallino painting, who took the head and hands of Christ 
from it and who then painted the picture in Italy or in Holland. 

This supposition simplifies an otherwise complicated prob- 
lem. It relieves one of the necessity of rather reluctantly, as in 
the first edition of this book, accepting the ascription to Ver- 
meer of this painting of Christ in the House of Mary and 
Martha. This was then described as " apparently one of his 
earliest pictures," and its size, unusual for Vermeer, was com- 
mented upon as follows: " It is the only one besides The 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 167 

Courtesan which the artist made so large. It is rather heavily 
painted with a full, flowing brush which is managed with a 
hand that, for Vermeer, seems rather clumsy." Studied further, 
it looks to be a painting which, however beautiful, is not in a 
manner characteristic of Vermeer. Such a supposition, it may 
be added, does not confirm the implication in the title of Dr. 
Borenius's Burlington Magazine article: " Vermeer's Master." 

As possibly evidential it should be added that a Cavallino 
painting, The Woman Take?j in Adultery in the Verona Gal- 
lery, was at one time tentatively ascribed to Vermeer. The 
Death of St. Joseph at the Naples Museum has itself also been 
described as showing a colouration that is a very distinct antici- 
pation of Vermeer's. 

A possible connection between the figures of Christ and a 
woman in a very sketchy study for a picture of Christ Blessing 
Little Children, attributed to Carel Fabritius, and the corre- 
sponding figures of Christ and Mary in the Vermeer painting, 
has been developed by Sir Charles J. Holmes in the Burlington 
Magazine, January, 1905. The drawing, found in the British 
Museum by Mr. A. M. Hind and ascribed by him to Fabritius, 
was studied by Sir Charles, who became convinced that two of 
the figures in the drawing were used as models or suggestions 
by Vermeer. If the latter actually was a pupil of Fabritius, and 
if the Christ in the House of Mary and Martha is unquestion- 
ably by Vermeer, the possibility of such use of a Fabritius 
sketch cannot be denied. 

In his chronology of Vermeer's paintings, in his Pantheon 
article, referred to elsewhere, Dr. W. R. Valentiner suggests 
that this religious painting may have been used in 1653 to gain 
Vermeer's admittance to the Guild of St. Luke. 

168 Vermeer 

View of Delft 
Royal Gallery of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague 

Plate 3 

The town of Delft is depicted from the vantage of the shore 
across the canal. Most prominent against the sky is the tower 
of the Nieuwe Kerk, of Gothic design. A mass of trees, ren- 
dered with little dots of colour after the manner called pointille 
in nineteenth century French painting, is seen in front of the 
church, and before these is discerned a small arched bridge. To 
the right of the church is an old house, adjoining the city wall; 
and still further to the right, two towers rise from the wall 
above the Rotterdam Gate. In front of the latter is a large canal 
boat. To the left of the bridge is a good-sized building, bearing 
a cupola; beneath this is the Schiedam Gate. Still further to the 
left are the rooflines of several houses whose facades are for the 
most part hidden by a high wall. Before these houses, along 
the dyke, are moored canal boats. 

In the immediate foreground, near the water's edge, some- 
what to the left, stand two market women. At the extreme left, 
close to a boat, are two men and two women, one of the latter 
holding a child in her arms. The sky is filled with cumulus 
clouds, the intervening spaces of sky being very blue, indeed. 

Signed on the boat to the left, " J v M " (the letters inter- 
twined) . 

Canvas, 39 inches by 46% inches. 

Sales: Amsterdam, 1696, No. 31, 200 florins; S. J. Stinstra, 
Amsterdam, May 22, 1822, No. 112, 2900 florins; acquired by 
the Dutch government, as indicated by a letter from the minis- 
ter of the interior to the director of the museum, dated June 5, 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 169 

The great interest of this painting, apart from its intrinsic 
merit, lies in its being, perhaps, the first landscape made in the 
modern spirit. Its tones are painted quite frankly as they ap- 
peared — blue is blue; green, green; even red, red, for Vermeer, 
unlike some moderns, had no parti-pris, as regards outdoor 
colour. He did not care how Rembrandt or Ruysdael might 
have done the thing. 

The other Netherland landscape painters apparently com- 
posed their pictures from carefully studied pencil drawings. 
There is extant a poetaster artist's rhymed advice to young 
painters to go forth, look at nature, make sketches from it, but 
to paint the picture in the studio. This work of Vermeer's, in 
contradistinction, seemingly must have been painted from 
nature. It also gives an impression of having been worked at 
again and again. The effect is simple and compelling, but the 
detail is subtle and elaborated. The focus of the composition is 
at the church and the trees in front of it. Hither the eye wanders 
naturally. The foreground with its little figures is not quite so 
carefully made, presumably in order to intensify the focus in 
the middle distance. 

The background of this View of Delft looks modern, with 
its sky of a frank blue and its grey-white clouds. It is as if a 
painter of Holland had for once taken off his amber glasses and 
rendered nature as seen through no medium. The houses are of 
a reddish general tone, which is natural enough since they are 
of brick. The trees are not only green, but they have a bluish 
tinge quite different from the foliage with black half-tones 
painted by Ruysdael and Hobbema. 

M. Gustave Vanzype has described another View of Delft, 
owned when he wrote about it by Michel van Gelder of Uccle, 
near Brussels; and he published a half-tone print of this work, 
which he thought to be by Vermeer. It is similar in aspect to 

170 Vermeer 

the Hague example, except that it is smaller and is not so wide, 
certain of the houses on the left being cut out. Since M. Thore 
mentions a copy of the View of Delft made by a painter of 
Holland in the early nineteenth century, it seems possible that 
this may be the van Gelder picture. There also exists a so- 
called study for the Delft painting at the Stadel Art Institute, 

The van Gelder work, if a copy, is quite slavishly executed. 
The sky, however, is different from that in the Vermeer land- 
scape, and especially in regard to the shape and arrangement 
of the clouds. In old-time copying it was customary to take 
liberties with the original, but one hardly sees how a mere 
copyist would have ordered the thing as skilfully as in this sky. 
At the same time, it is unlikely that Vermeer would have made 
so elaborate a study for a picture upon which he must have 
worked quite intensively, perhaps at intervals over a term of 

M. Vanzype himself admits that the trees in the van Gelder 
work are of a less bluish {bleute) green, and also that it has a 
less marked patina of age than has the painting at The Hague. 
These circumstances cause one to doubt the attribution of the 
van Gelder landscape to Vermeer. 

Mr. E. V. Lucas has written of Vermeer's View of Delft: 
" Its serenity is absolute, its charm complete," and Mr. R. H. 
Wilenski may be quoted: " Perhaps the finest sky of any pic- 
ture in the world." 

Augustus J. C. Hare, in his " Sketches in Holland and Scan- 
dinavia," says of Delft: " Pepys calls it ' a most sweet town, 
with bridges and a river in every street.' ... It has scarcely 
changed. The View of Delft in the Museum at The Hague 
might have been painted yesterday." 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 171 

The Toilette of Diana 
Royal Gallery of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague 

Plate 40 
Diana, looking downward upon a kneeling nymph who 
bathes her feet in a small brass bowl, sits, in profile, rather to 
the right of the picture. She wears a brown robe; her maid- 
servant, a purple skirt and brown bodice. By the goddess's side, 
and facing in the same direction, sits another nymph in red 
jacket and blue skirt. She nurses Diana's right foot. Behind, and 
still further to the right, is a young girl, looking on with in- 
terest. At the left of the composition is seen the back of a 
nymph, partly nude, partly covered with burnt orange drap- 
ery. Behind the group are trees. In the foreground, extreme 
left, a black and white dog views the scene with sapient curi- 

A signature, well-nigh effaced, is discerned towards the 

Canvas, 39 inches by 42 inches. 

Sale of the Collection of Neville D. Goldsmid, of The Hague, 
at Paris, May 4, 1876, No. 68, 10,000 francs; Royal Gallery, 
The Hague. Formerly attributed to Nicolaes Maes, afterward 
to Vermeer of Utrecht and later, by some authorities, to Ver- 
meer of Delft — an attribution which has become more plausible 
if the discovery in 1 90 1 of the signature in Christ in the House 
of Mary and Martha is to be considered significant evidence of 

The painter of this picture, whoever he was, had what may 
be called an excellent working idea of light and shade. The 
heads are made with understanding of the separations of light, 

172 Vermeer 

half-tone and shadow — an apparently simple achievement, 
but many painters never attain to it. 

M. Vanzype regards it as a very wonderful work, as doubt- 
less it is by comparison with most paintings of the same sort. 
It hardly holds its own with some of the universally accepted 
Vermeers. If it is his he must have been imitating certain Italian 
painters. Conceivably, indeed, if Leonard Bramer really was 
Vermeer's teacher, he could have inspired in his pupil an 
Italianate manner which appears here. 

Parts of the painting which do not look at all like Vermeer 
can be indicated. The trees are not in the manner of those of 
the View of Delft; they plainly were invented, or " faked," 
instead of being studied from nature. The shadows throughout 
the work are brownish; the draperies are orange and pink rather 
than of the blue and lemon-yellow tones which Vermeer made 
famous. The dog and the spindling plant near by suggest Fabri- 
tius rather than Vermeer. Another possible suggestion is that 
Anthony Palamedes, who was a predecessor of Vermeer as 
dean of the Guild of St. Luke, conceivably may have either in- 
fluenced the painting of this picture or had a hand in it. In the 
art gallery of the public library of Maiden, Massachusetts, is a 
painting by Palamedes, Boy ivith Dogs. This has in the lower 
left-hand corner a dog of similar head to the one in the Diana 
and painted in much the same manner. The treatment of the 
brownish foliage in the background also resembles that in the 
Diana. This work of Palamedes at Maiden is signed, and is 
dated 1656. 

Although the Diana contains passages of fine painting one 
would not be surprised if further evidence or study should some 
day establish the unlikelihood of its being by Jan Vermeer of 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 173 

Head of a Young Girl 

Royal Gallery of Paintings, the Mauritshuis, The Hague 

Plate 4 
A young girl, wearing a quaint blue turban, and with a scarf 
of blue and yellowish white hanging over her shoulder, looks, 
with head turned to the left, towards the spectator. A large 
pearl is pendant at the ear. Her dress is of yellowish green. 

Signed in the upper left corner: " J V Meer " (the J, V and 
M intertwined) . 

Canvas, 1 8 Vi inches by 1 6 inches. 

Possibly the Portrait in Ajitique Costume, 1696 sale, No. 38, 
36 florins ($14.40). In the collection of A. A. des Tombe, The 
Hague, who bought it for 2V2 florins and who in 1903 be- 
queathed it to the Royal Gallery, The Hague. There are two 
other similar portraits ascribed to Vermeer: one in the Aren- 
berg Gallery; the other, the Smiling Girl of the Mellon Col- 

This Head of a Young Girl at The Hague discloses su- 
premely Vermeer's mastery of light and shade. Nowhere in it is 
any effort evident to paint a passage in the direction of the form. 
In the modeling it is lighter here, darker there, just as the light 
or shadow made it. No mouth, surely, was ever rendered more 
beautifully than this, simply and yet subtly. There is no drag- 
ging the paint along the rounded forms of the lips; no effort to 
imitate the texture, as of the minute cracks. 

Since no mannered handling is visible one cannot see how the 
colour was floated on. The form is there, adequately expressed, 
the means and mode of its making concealed. 

Concerning the Girl's nose a similar enthusiastic word can 

174 Vermeer 

be said. The nose of commerce is only too familiar in exhibi- 
tions of painting: the kind shown in fashionable portraits, with 
button-hole nostrils, over-accented planes and a sweaty, greasy 
high light. The nose here is made solely by the light and shade, 
for one cannot see the further outline. 

Concerning the present condition of this picture Mr. R. H. 
Wilenski (" Introduction to Dutch Art ") offers the following 
information: " When this head was bought by M. des Tombe 
at auction in The Hague for two and a half gulden it was in a 
bad condition. It has since been restored and, in parts, re- 

The Reader 
sometimes called A Girl Reading a Letter 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Plate 5 
Reading a letter held in both hands a young woman, mid- 
way in the composition, stands facing towards the left. She 
wears a coat of light blue silk over a white skirt. Before her is a 
table, on which is spread a rumpled rug. It bears a book bound 
in parchment. Behind the table is a lion-headed chair. In the 
foreground, extreme right, is another chair. A large map hangs 
on the grey wall. Although no window is seen the light seems 
to come from one to the left. 

Canvas, 1 8 Vi inches by 1 5 Vi inches. 

Sales: Possibly in the Pieter van der Lip Sale, Amsterdam, 
June 14, 17 1 2, No. 22, no florins, though the indefinite nota- 
tion, " een leezent Vrouwtje, in een Kamer, door vander Meer 
van Delft, 110-0" (Hoet Catalogue, Vol. I, p. 147), could 
apply to the Girl Reading a Letter, Dresden. H. Ten Kate, 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 175 

Amsterdam, June 10, 1801, No. 118, no florins; Paris, 1809; 
Lapeyriere, Paris, 1825; Comte de Sommariva, Paris, 1839. For- 
merly in the Van der Hoop Collection, Amsterdam, No. 129. 
Bequest to the Rijks Museum. 

This work, well spaced, its arrangement of dark and light 
very effective, is thoroughly characteristic of Vermeer. The 
composition, while somewhat resembling the arrangements of 
the Pearl Necklace, Berlin, and the Girl Readmg, Dresden, is 
unlike the others in that the window is omitted. In no painting 
has the artist been more successful than in this in conveying 
a sense of the light sliding across the wall and the map on it. 
An admirable bit, small in itself but important in relationship 
to the whole design, is the knob of the mapstick. It is carefully 
finished and yet is not obtrusive. Note, too, the way in which 
the chair, placed in the right foreground, breaks the upright 
line of the side of the picture and fills in the lower part connect- 
ing with the skirt. A dark mark against the woman's cheek is 
apparently the suggestion of a black ribbon fastened at the 
side of the hair. 

Reference has been made (page 86) to the tribute which 
Vincent Van Gogh paid to this work by Vermeer. 

A Maid-Servant Pouring Milk 
also called The Milkivoman, Girl with Bread, The Cook 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Plate 6 
Pouring milk from a jug into a bowl a young woman, wear- 
ing a white kerchief, a bodice and a skirt, stands at a green- 
covered table on which is a basket of bread. Behind the basket 

176 Vermeer 

is a pitcher. The light is from a window to the left, high in the 
composition. Beyond it are suspended a basket and a brass uten- 
sil; above these at the extreme upper part of the canvas hangs a 
small pitcher. The wall is blank, except for two nails, painted 
with meticulous care. On the floor, at the right and behind 
the woman's figure, is a wooden foot-warmer. The baseboard 
is of tiles. 

Signed, " J V Meer " (the J and M intertwined). 

Canvas, 18 inches by i6 l A inches. 

Amsterdam, sale of 1696, 175 florins ($60), No. 2; Amster- 
dam, April 20, 1701, No. 7, 320 florins ($128); Amsterdam, 
Jacob van Hoek Sale, April 12, 17 19, No. 20, 126 florins 
($49.40); Amsterdam, de Neufville Sale, June 19, 1765, No. 
65, 560 florins ($224); Amsterdam, J. J. de Bruyn Sale, Sep- 
tember 12, 1798, No. 32, 1550 florins ($720); Amsterdam, 
H. Muilman, April 12, 181 3, No. 96, 21 13 florins ($846); Six 
Collection, Amsterdam, until 1907. Bought, 1907, for Rijks 
Museum from M. Six van Vromade, together with thirty-eight 
other paintings, for 750,000 florins. This picture was then con- 
sidered worth nearly half the sum paid for the collection, pos- 
sibly 300,000 florins ($120,000). 

The Milkivoman is one of the few paintings which have 
been continuously attributed to Vermeer. Sir Joshua Reynolds 
in his diary of a " Journey in Holland " speaks of seeing this 
picture at Amsterdam. 

It is apparently an early work; the facture is rather heavy and 
loaded, and little details, such as the kerchief, are not made so 
skilfully as in works of a later date. There is a Millet-like solidity 
and firmness about the figure which is admirable, and the light 
and shade, well and simply rendered, seem to exist. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 177 

In a lecture on " Vermeer of Delft — and Modern Painting," 
one of the Charlton Lectures on Art, delivered at Armstrong 
College, Newcastle-on-Tyne, in the University of Durham, 
1925, Sir George Clausen, R. A., says: "The picture of the 
Woman Pouring Milk, at Amsterdam, is one of the world's 

The Love Letter 
Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Plate 7 
Holding in her right hand a letter which has been handed to 
her by a smiling maid-servant, a seated lady is seen through an 
open door, her head turning sharply to the right. The handle 
of a lute is in her left hand. She has pearls around her neck and 
in her hair. Her jacket is trimmed with ermine; the skirt is 
of silk. The servant, her left arm akimbo while her right arm 
is at her side, stands to the right of her mistress at whom she 
looks down. Near by is a waste-paper basket; in front of this, a 
cushion box, apparently the same one which appears in the 
Louvre Lace Maker, with strands of coloured silk issuing from 
it. Behind the lady are two pictures, hanging on the wall above 
a panel of gilt Spanish leather. Of these pictures one, a land- 
scape, depicting a road on the edge of a wood, seems to Mr. 
Eduard Plietzsch to be possibly by Jan Wijnants; the other, a 
marine painting, suggests to him the colour and composition of 
a work by Jacob van Ruysdael. Somewhat to the left is a man- 
telpiece with columns. The foreground, right, is rilled in with 
a large tapestry, draped above and at the side of the door. In 
front of this is a chair, with some sheets of music. At the other 
side of the door hangs, in sharp perspective, a map. A pair of 

178 Vermeer 

wooden shoes and a long-handled brush fill in the front. The 
floor is in black and white squares. 

Signed on the wall above the basket work: " J V Meer " (the 
J and M intertwined) . 

Canvas, 1 7 Vz inches by 1 5 inches. 

Possibly the painting of the 1 696 sale titled A Lady to Whom 
a Maid-Servant is Bringing a Letter, No. 7, which sold for 70 
florins ($28). Exhibited at The Hague, 1890. In the collection 
of J. F. van Lennep, Amsterdam; sale, Messchert van Vollen- 
hoven, Amsterdam, March 14, 1892, 41,000 florins; purchased 
in 1893 for the Rijks Museum, with the help of the Rembrandt 

This painting was presumably made late in Vermeer's life — 
perhaps at about the time of the Czernin Gallery Studio. The 
technical perfection of details such as the tesselated flooring 
and the mantel behind the lady's hand suggest maturity of 
talent. The servant, to be sure, is not very well done, but the 
lady's head is admirable in light and shade; it must have been 
viewed freshly and without prejudice. 

Vermeer, indeed, saw and rendered this woman's head with 
the same uncompromising directness and aloofness with which 
he saw and rendered the scrap basket. The one meant, appar- 
ently, as little to him as the other, except that the head, being 
the focusing point of the picture, is painted quite closely. This 
aloofness of sympathy is often a characteristic of great artists. 

The piece of Spanish leather behind the figures is worthy of 
note because it is mentioned in the inventory of Vermeer's 
effects; it helps to identify the painting as by Vermeer. The 
basket is of remarkable artistry, made with consummate ease 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 179 

from soft flowing pigment, the aspect rendered supremely well 
and yet with marked economy of effort. 

In his Pantheon article, dealing with the chronology of 
Vermeer's paintings, Dr. Valentiner dates this Rijks Museum 
hove Letter as having been painted before 1664 on the basis 
of comparison with a recently discovered work by Pieter de 
Hooch, dated 1668. 

The Little Street In Delft 
Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Plate 8 
Facade of a three-storeyed brick house. At the open door 
sits a woman sewing. Two children play before the house. 
Through a doorway is seen a woman at a washtub. To the left 
of this is another doorway, closed, by the side of which stands 
another and smaller house, nearly covered with ivy. The win- 
dows are small and leaded, and all of them, except in one of the 
larger houses, have the lower part closed by shutters. The street, 
foreground, is paved with square cobblestones. Over the roof- 
lines, which show two chimneys, is a grey sky with cumulus 

Signed, on the left, on the wall of the house: " J V Meer." 

Canvas, 2 1 % inches by 1 7 inches. 

Apparently the Street in Delft of the 1696 sale, No. 32, sold 
for 72 florins ($28.80). It was once in the collection of G. W. 
Oosten de Bruyn, Amsterdam, sold April 8, 1800; then in the 
van Winter Collection, Amsterdam; later in the Six Collection, 
Amsterdam; offered to the Louvre, 192 1, but offer withdrawn; 

180 Vermeer 

by gift of Sir Henri Deterding it passed from the J. Six Col- 
lection, Amsterdam, into ownership of the Rijks Museum. 

The painting, to judge from its technical manner, belongs to 
about the time of the View of Delft and the Milkwoman. It 
is smoother in surface, however, than the latter, which is one of 
the most heavily " loaded " of Vermeer's canvases. Much in the 
workmanship looks like de Hooch, but the signature is believed 
to settle the attribution. This is unlikely to have been forged, 
since for many years de Hooch's name was worth more than 

The little figures, somehow, still suggest de Hooch. They 
are well enough made not to spoil the artistic effect, but they 
are hardly as neat in facture as are most of Vermeer's figures. 

An interesting suggestion in regard to the identity of the 
house in this picture has been made by Dr. Clifford Dobell, in 
his " Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His ' Little Animals.' " 

In the course of his book, Dr. Dobell presents translations of 
van Leeuwenhoek's letters to the Royal Society, London. In 
the longest and in some respects most interesting letter, dated 
" Delft in Holland, 9th October, 1676," he describes how he 
looked through his " microscopes " at a drop of rain-water and 
what he saw there, thus producing the first paper ever prepared 
on protozoology, " the first account ever written," says Dr. 
Dobell, " of the Bacteria, as well as many other original obser- 
vations." Van Leeuwenhoek wrote the letter from the notes he 
had made on his observations on various earlier dates, and, de- 
scribing his study of rain-water on June 9, he interpolates this 
paragraph about the " closet " where he made his studies: " My 
closet standeth towards the northeast and is partitioned off from 
my antechamber with pine-wood, very close jointed, having no 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 181 

other opening than a slit an inch and a half high and 8 inches 
long, through which the wooden spring of my lathe passeth. 
'Tis furnished towards the street with four windows, whereof 
the two lowermost can be opened from within, and which by 
night are closed outside with two wooden shutters; so that little 
or no air comes in from without, unless it chance that in making 
my observations I use a candle, when I draw up one casement a 
little, lest the candle inconvenience me; and I also then pull a 
curtain almost right across the panels." 

Dr. Dobell surmises that this description indicates that the 
" closet " was at the front, looking on to the canal in the Hip- 
polytusbuurt. It was on this street, which ran parallel to the 
Oude Delft (the main canal and thoroughfare of the town) that 
van Leeuwenhoek, about 1654 — the year of the great powder- 
magazine explosion — bought a house and shop and set up in 
business as a draper. The house was within the sight of the Old 
Church and the New Church, and not far from the Fish and 
Meat Markets and the Town Hall. It is no longer standing but 
has been ascertained by the late Mr. L. G. N. Bouricius to 
have been the second house from the Niewstraat, which con- 
nects Hippolytusbuurt with Oude Delft. Here van Leeuwen- 
hoek lived during the last sixty-seven years of his long life 
and undoubtedly it was here that he made most of his dis- 

Dr. Dobell offers the interesting suggestion that the house 
shown in Vermeer 's Little Street in Delft may conceivably have 
been van Leeuwenhoek's own house, for, as a glance at the 
picture will show, here we have a house with four windows, 
with two wooden shutters over the lowermost, just as in van 
Leeuwenhoek's description of his " closet." 

182 Vermeer 

Portrait of a Girl 
Arenberg Collectio?i, Brussels 

Plate 41 

Head and bust. 

A young girl, the head in three-quarters, looks over her left 
shoulder at the spectator. A yellowish drapery falls back of the 
head; the body is enveloped in a white shawl and there is a 
pearl in the visible ear. The background is dark. 

Signed, upper left corner: " I Meer " (the I set into the V- 
shaped centre of the M). 

Canvas, 1 7 % inches by 1 5 % inches. 

Believed to be No. 39, 1696 sale. It has somewhat the same 
pose and arrangement as the Head of a Young Girl, The Hague. 
Possibly the two pictures are portraits of Vermeer's daughters. 
This may be the one sold to Dr. Luchtmans, Rotterdam, 1 8 1 6, 
for 3 florins ($1.20); Duke of Arenberg, Brussels. 

The Arenberg head is hardly as fine as the one at The Hague. 
Its modeling lacks firmness and the paint quality is unattractive. 
While it is good in light and shade it is less remarkable than is 
the other in this respect. 

Enthusiasts have compared the Arenberg head with Leo- 
nardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Outstanding as its excellences are 
the painting does not merit this comparison. It is true, however, 
that both this and the head at The Hague are painted with a 
subtlety of modeling quite beyond anything else done in Hol- 
land, with resultant intensity of expression that is almost mys- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 183 

Portrait of a Young Man 

Royal Museum of Art, Brussels 

Attributed by some critics to Jan Vermeer of Delft; now 
generally attributed to Nicolaes Maes 

Plate 42 
A young man, seated, his right hand resting on the back of 
his chair, looks in full face towards the spectator. He is garbed 
in black, with plain white collar from which a small gold orna- 
ment depends. He has a large black hat, high-crowned. He 
sits in a lion-headed chair, holding his gloves in his hand. 

Canvas, 2 8 % inches by 2 3 Vi inches. 

Collections: Peter Norton, London, 1836; T. Humphry 
Ward, London, 1888; E. Otlet, Brussels. Sold at Paris, 1900, 
to the Brussels Museum for 19,700 francs as a Nicolaes Maes. 
It was given, in Smith's "Catalogue Raisonne," 1836 — the 
work of which Dr. Hofstede de Groot's " Catalogue of Dutch 
Painters," 1907, is a revision — as a Rembrandt (No. 305), 
signed and dated 1 644. Signature and date were later removed 
as false. Dr. de Groot definitely assigns it to Maes (No. 309). 
Mr. Eduard Plietzsch considers that it closely resembles the 
work of Vermeer of Delft but is not by him. Dr. Bredius 
ascribes it to Jan Victors. In the Exhibition of Dutch Art, 
Burlington House, 1929, it is assigned to "Nicolaes Maes or 
Johannes Vermeer." 

Mr. A. J. Wauters, writing from the Brussels Museum for 
the Burlington Magazine in December, 1905, brings up several 
arguments to support his belief that this work is a Vermeer. 
He relates that when it first came to the Brussels Museum it 
was provisionally classed among anonymous works, but that 
M. Cardon suggested the name of Vermeer of Delft. Compari- 

1 84 Vermeer 

son with paintings by Vermeer and Maes strengthened the 
Brussels authorities' belief in the attribution to Vermeer. The 
particular mode of painting the lion-headed chair, thought by 
Mr. Wauters to be peculiar to Vermeer, is regarded by him as 
" almost equivalent to a signature." Chairs of this type, accord- 
ing to Mr. Wauters, do not appear in the works of Pieter de 
Hooch and Nicolaes Maes. Yet, as a matter of fact, one may 
see one of these self-same lion-headed chairs in the painting, 
Boy with Pomegranates, by de Hooch in the Wallace Collec- 
tion. If the appearance of the chair in the portrait at Brussels 
is important, therefore, it must be because, as Mr. Wauters 
asserts, " it shows his [Vermeer's] peculiar technique and 
his little touches of high light." See Plate 43. 

Although Dr. Bredius, Dr. Hofstede de Groot and Dr. 
W. R. Valentiner do not, any of them, accept the Brussels 
portrait as by Vermeer, certain things in its making cause one 
still to wonder if his hand may not be seen in it. There are 
points of resemblance between its facture and that of the Letter, 
Dresden, the Cup of Wine, Berlin, and the Portrait of a Woman, 
Buda-Pesth. It is true that, so far as one remembers, Vermeer 
never " lost " an edge as the edge of the hat in this picture is 
lost in the background. The hand, too, is not painted at all as 
the hand, let us say, of the Lace Maker, in the Louvre, is made. 

The Lace Maker 
The Louvre, Paris 

Plate 44 
Making lace on a blue pillow and frame a young woman, 
her head in three-quarters, leans forward. To her right, at the 
left of the composition, is a blue pillow box from which straggle 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 185 

strands of white and red silk. A book lies near by. The table is 
covered with tapestry. The girl, whose hair is coiffed after an 
antique style with lovelocks flowing confusedly from it, wears 
a yellow bodice with collar of white lace. The background is 
a wall of Vermeer grey. The light comes from the spectator's 

Signed in the upper right side: " I Meer " (the I set into the 
V-shaped centre of the M) . 

Canvas, 9 Vi inches by 8 inches. 

This is probably the Girl Making Lace of the 1696 sale, 
No. 12, 28 florins. Sales: Jacob Crammer Simonsz, Amster- 
dam, November 25, 1778, No. 17, 150 florins (Nijman); 
J. Schepens, Amsterdam, January 21, 181 1, No. 5; H. Muil- 
man, Amsterdam, April 12, 181 3, No. 97; Amsterdam, May 
24, 1 81 5, 9 florins (Gruyter); Baron van Nagell van Ampsen, 
The Hague, September 5, 1851, No. 40, 260 florins (Lamme); 
D. Vis Blokhuyzen of Rotterdam, sale at Paris, April 1, 1870, 
7270 francs; purchased, 1870, by the Louvre. 

This little painting has long delighted earnest students of art 
at Paris. In the 1 88o's, when Vermeer was not yet well known 
to the general public, the Lace Maker had qualities which ap- 
pealed to the intelligent youth of the ateliers. Its marked square 
touch technique and its cool colouration accorded better with 
the ideas of the time than did some of the hot-toned Dutch 
pictures in the Louvre. 

It still impresses the present writer as one of the most char- 
acteristic of Vermeer's works, even though in size and com- 
position it differs from most of the others. While the arrange- 
ment is satisfactory, it is not compellingly interesting in design. 

186 Vermeer 

The colour scheme is quite typical of Vermeer. It may be noted 
that Dr. Hofstede de Groot describes the dark blue cushion 
as having " white and red feathers protruding from it." To 
one who has known the picture since art student days it seems 
certain that these forms are strands of silk issuing from the 
pillow box. 

Mr. H. Granville Fell, in his " Vermeer," thus characterises 
this little picture: " So finely designed, and so broad in effect 
as to convey an impression of much larger scale." 

Dr. W. R. Valentiner considers that this was painted at 
the same time as the Studio, Czernin Collection, probably in 

The Astronomer 
Rothschild Collection, Paris 

Plate 45 
Touching with his right hand a celestial globe which stands 
near the window, left, a man, leaning forward, sits at the right 
of the canvas. A book lies open before him, and his left hand 
holds a corner of the table. He has long, flowing hair and wears 
a blue gown. The table is covered with crumpled blue-green 
tapestry, having a yellow figure; the grey wall is partly ob- 
scured by a cabinet on which hangs a square. There are books 
on the top of this cabinet; to its right is a black-framed picture, 
its subject The Finding of Moses; the back of a nude woman 
and two other figures are seen in it. The same picture appears 
also in The Love Letter of the Beit Collection. A coat-of-arms, 
only part of which is visible, is inserted in the window. 

Canvas, 20 inches by 18 inches. 

For the possible early history of this painting and two others 
with a similar subject, the reader is referred to the discussion of 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 187 

the possible early history of The Geographer, in the Collection 
of E. John Magnin, New York, page 124. The later history of 
the Rothschild Astronomer follows: Jan Gildemeester Jansz, 
Amsterdam, June 1 1, 1 800, No. 139, 340 florins (Labouchere) ; 
sold at Christie's, London, 1863. Collection of Baron Al- 
phonse de Rothschild, Paris; Baron E. de Rothschild. 

For a discussion of the speculation as to the subject of the 
three Vermeer Astronomers or Geographers, the reader is re- 
ferred to the description of the Frankfort Astronomer on 
page 197. 

The Pearl Necklace 
Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin 

Plate 9 
Her hands toying with a pearl necklace a young woman 
stands in profile well to the right of the picture, looking into a 
small mirror on the wall at the extreme left. She wears a yellow 
jacket trimmed with ermine and a greenish-grey skirt; a knot 
of red ribbon adorns her hair, and a large pendant hangs from 
her ear. Somewhat in front of her, to the left, is a table on which 
are discerned a large blue oriental vase, a tumbled mass of blue 
drapery, a small bowl of nondescript colour and a round brush. 
Behind the table is a chair, upholstered in greenish blue, with 
designs in dull yellow and blue. Another chair, apparently cov- 
ered with brown Spanish leather, with brass bossed nails, occu- 
pies the immediate foreground, extreme right. The light is from 
a leaded casement, left; beyond the window is a curtain of 
Vermeer yellow. The wall is gradated, left to right, from a 
yellow-white to a blue-grey tone. 

Signed on the table: " I Meer " (the I set into, and connected 
with, the V-shaped centre of the M). 

188 Vermeer 

Canvas, 22 inches by 18 inches. 

This is probably the Lady Adorning Herself, 1 696 sale, No. 
36, 30 florins ($12). Sales: J. Caudri, Amsterdam, September 
6, 1809, No. 42, 55 florins (Spaan); D. Teengs, Amsterdam, 
April 24, 181 1, No. 73, 36 florins (Gruyter); collections of 
Henry Crevedon; of M. Thore, Paris, i860; Suermondt Col- 
lection, Aix-la-Chapelle, 1874. 

This is one of the few all but faultless pictures, its artistry 
well-nigh concealed. It appears not to have been painted at all 
but to have " just happened." It has extraordinary bits of ren- 
dering — as, for instance, the jug at the left against the window 
— but one is almost unconscious of the skilful handling. The 
high lights on this vase are a reminder of a saying of Alfred 
Stevens to the effect that a high light on pottery made by a 
Netherland master is more than a clever touch — it is a con- 
scious act of intellect. 

Vermeer came nearer in the Pearl Necklace than in any other 
work to making what the so-called " man in the street " would 
call a pretty face. The head is of a typical woman of Holland; 
the type, however, seems to have been modified in the direction 
of delicacy. The nose is not so retrousse, the chin not so re- 
treating, as in some of Vermeer's other women. The arm, 
though hardly drawn constructively, is well enough seen and 
makes an agreeable form. The large pearl pendant, which 
Vermeer loved to paint, is exquisitely made, and the red ribbon 
gives a most agreeable colour accent. 

Regarding this painting, Mr. E. V. Lucas, in " A Wanderer 
among Pictures," has thus written; " After the Head of a Girl 
at the Mauritshuis, and the View of Delft, it is, I think, Ver- 
meer's most enchanting work. The white wall in the painting 
is beautiful beyond the power of words to express. It is so won- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 189 

derful that if one were to cut out a few square inches of this 
wall alone and frame it, one would have a joy forever." 

A Girl Drinking with a Gentleman 
Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin 

Plate 46 

Drinking from a wine cup held in her right hand, her left 
hand resting in her lap, a young woman, in red gown and white 
cap, sits in profile towards the right of the picture. A man, stand- 
ing somewhat behind, regards her. He is clad in grey, with a 
black hat. In his right hand he holds the often depicted white 
jug. The table, covered with an oriental rug, bears books; near 
this, in front, stands a lion-headed chair, on which are a cushion 
and a guitar. 

A window, of coloured glass, is, as is usual with Vermeer, at 
the extreme left. Its design corresponds with that of the Bruns- 
wick Coquette (q.v.), and somewhat resembles that of the Beit 
Collection Love Letter. Below the window is a bench, having 
a cushion at the farther end; behind the man's figure, to the 
left, a landscape, which has been conjectured by Mr. Plietzsch 
to be one of the works of Allaert van Everdingen. 

Canvas, i6Vi inches by 30V2 inches. 

Sale: Jan van Loon, Delft, July 18, 1736, No. 16, 52 florins. 
In the collection of Lord Francis Pelham Clinton Hope, Lon- 
don, sometime owner of the famous Hope diamond and at 
present (1936) Duke of Newcastle, in succession (1928) to 
his brother, the seventh duke. In the 1891 catalogue of the 
Hope Collection, this picture was No. 54. In 1898, the Hope 
Collection was bought en bloc by P. and D. Colnaghi and 

190 Vermeer 

A. Wertheimer, from whom the Vermeer picture was bought 
by the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in 1901. 

As an " intermediate Vermeer," one standing in quality be- 
tween the dozen very great works of the master and those attrib- 
uted to him which are decidedly less meritorious, this canvas 
elicits the thought that if there were nothing else from Ver- 
meer's hand it would be regarded as a great painting. Though 
evidently by him it has its weak passages. In it are familiar 
objects: the lions' heads, the white vase of distinctive shape, the 
rug on the table, the tesselated floor. The drapery, especially on 
the man's figure, is not particularly good. Vermeer probably, 
as often, had difficulty in rendering forms that would not stay 
still. The woman's kerchief is less skilful than that of the Young 
Woman at the Casement, Metropolitan Museum. There are 
matchless things in the painting, nevertheless, of which only 
Vermeer was capable: the light coming through the curtain of 
the farther casement; the adequate making of the lions' heads; 
the head of the guitar and the rug on the table. These little 
felicities are not unimportant; their sum total imparts the air 
of exquisite serenity which is Vermeer's chief charm. 

In his chronology of Vermeer's paintings Dr. Valentiner 
places this picture, together with the Girl with the Wine 
Glass, Brunswick, and the Frick Music Lesson, as painted in 

The Coquette 
also called The Girl with the Wine Glass 

Ducal Gallery of Paintings, Brunswick 
Plate 47 
Holding a glass of wine, which a low-bending beau has just 
presented to her, a girl, smiling, sits in profile to the right of 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 191 

the canvas. Her left hand is in her lap. At a table, towards the 
left and in the rear, is a gloomy gallant, his head on his hand. 

The girl wears a rose-coloured bodice; the short sleeves, of 
yellow shot with gold, have lace at the elbows. The very full 
skirt is of roseate satin. The bending beau has a mouse-coloured 
cloak edged with gold; his long hair flows to his shoulders over 
a white collar, and his wrists are adorned with laces. The man 
in the corner is in military habit, his greenish-grey sleeves shot 
with gold. 

On the table, its large white napkin falling over a blue cover, 
is a silver salver containing lemons, the peel of one of which 
falls to the table. Vermeer's little white jug is here. 

The half-open casement, the stained glass of which depicts a 
woman holding a snake, admits a discreet light. On it is a coat- 
of-arms similar to the one in A Girl Drinking with a Gentle- 
man, Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin. A description of the 
heraldry of this coat-of-arms is thus set forth by Dr. Hofstede 
de Groot in his " Catalogue of Dutch Painters ": " It is per pale; 
the dexter, or, a chevron gules, with nine small lozenges sable 
in two rows above, and six of the same in three rows below; 
the sinister, on a chief vert three martlets; the crest is a woman 
holding a snake in her left hand." This coat-of-arms has been 
identified as that of the family of Moses Jans van Nederveen 
( 1 566-1 624). On the wall, of Vermeer grey, is a large por- 
trait of a man in black, with white collar and cuffs, holding a 
Rembrandtesque hat in his right hand. The floor is tiled in 
blue and white. 

The blue tone of the underpainting shows through in several 
places, especially in the flesh and in the passages of white. 

Signed below the window: " J Meer " (the J and M inter- 

192 Vermeer 

Canvas, 3 1 inches by 2 7 inches. 

Possibly Interior with Revellers, 1696 sale. Catalogued by 
Eberlein so lately as 1859, " Jacob Vandermeer." Formerly in 
the ancient gallery of Salzthal (or Salzdahlum) , formed by 
the Dukes of Brunswick. 

This painting can hardly be called one of Vermeer's best, 
though it has admirable bits. The girl's head, which naturally 
is in the focus of the picture, shows unfortunately by no means 
the best rendering. The mouth is insensitively done and the 
edge of the shadow on the nose is badly studied. The gallant's 
head near by is dismally weak. The girl's hand, which rests in 
her lap, is delightfully rendered as it shows against the white 
napkin. One again is impressed that Vermeer, when he could 
get a thing to lie still, as this hand must have lain, was able to 
see it more beautifully and render it more absolutely than any 
other man who has painted. 

The girl's satin skirt is handsomely made; it seemingly must 
have been arranged on a lay figure. The still life is treated in 
masterly fashion. Fine morceaux are the bit of shirt on the 
seated man's arm, the lace chemise about the girl's wrist, and 
the girl's sleeve with its gold thread well handled. 

An interesting circumstance is that this work is built up on 
a rose-coloured tonality, whereas most of Vermeer's paintings 
are essentially studies in blue and yellow. 

Mr. James Henry Duveen, in his " Art Treasures and In- 
trigue " (1935) says: "Duveen Brothers made an offer of 
nearly £150,000 not long ago to the government of Brunswick 
for Vermeer's La Coquette in the museum of Brunswick." 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 193 

The Courtesan 

also called The Procuress; sometimes known as 

Scene in a Tavern and as A Young Woman in a 

Yellow Jacket 

State Picture Gallery, Dresden 

Plate 48 

A white-capped young courtesan, wearing a canary-yellow 
bodice, sits at a table to the right of the canvas, her head in 
three-quarters. Her left hand holds a wine glass while her right 
hand is extended to catch a gold piece, dropped into it by a 
youth who stands over her, his left hand resting on her shoul- 
der. This young man, whose face and flowing locks are shaded 
by a grey felt hat with peacock feather, wears a red tunic 
adorned with a gold stripe. Against his right shoulder leans a 
crone, the procuress, garbed in black, who regards him and the 
girl closely. 

At the extreme left sits a gallant, his head turned towards 
the spectator. He holds a glass of wine in his left hand and 
in his right hand a lute. This man wears a black pourpoint 
slashed with white, and has a large white collar with modish 
edging. A big cap or beret shades his face and fluffy chestnut 
hair. The background, for the most part grey, changes sharply 
into an orange-yellow behind the man with the wine glass. 

Covering the table and dependent from it is a large rug, per- 
haps Turkish, with a pattern of red and yellow on a grey- 
green ground. It is partly obscured by a fur cloak at the left. 
On the table beside the green hock glass is a blue and white 
wine jug. 

Signed, in the lower right corner: " J v Meer " (the J and 
M intertwined), and dated 1656. 

194 Vermeer 

Canvas, 57 inches by 52 inches. 

Brought to Dresden, 1741, from the Wallenstein Collection 
at Dux, in Bohemia, where it had been in the castle of the 
Wallensteins, the family of the famous commander of the 
Imperial forces in the Thirty Years' War (assassinated, 1634), 
who was the subject of Schiller's drama, " Wallenstein." The 
celebrated adventurer Casanova (1725-98) was librarian of 
the castle from 1785 until his death and there wrote his 
widely read memoirs. This collection at Dux, consisting of 
268 pictures, was acquired en bloc by the Dresden Gallery in 
1 741 for 22,000 florins. Catalogued as by Jan Vermeer since 
1835, but attributed, until 1862, to Jan Vermeer of Utrecht. 

The Procuress has historic interest in that, as it has generally 
been believed, it is one of the earliest of Vermeer's canvases. 
Careful examination of the workmanship reveals that it was 
painted by a man who did not, as yet, have his metier at his 
fingers' ends. It is made rather unevenly, with a heavy and un- 
relenting hand; it is not so highly finished or of so pleasant a 
surface as are some of the later Vermeers. The subject, of 
course, is not delectable, but aside from that the composition 
is not designed with complete or satisfying beauty. The figures 
appear to be jumbled together. 

Certain parts of the still life, presumably, went wonderfully 
well, whereas other bits were loaded quite heavily because the 
artist painted and repainted them. The girl's yellow jacket is 
an instance of a passage in which the paint is " gobbed " on, in 
studio argot, very plentifully. The hock glass, on the contrary, 
which she holds in her left hand, is done with as great skill as 
Vermeer ever displayed. 

Each of the heads is good in its own way: the girl's, of the 
unthinking type of Continental fille de joie; the old woman's, 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 195 

with her sharp, uncanny features; the well-characterized coun- 
tenances of the two gallants. These latter are among the few 
cases in which Vermeer has painted heads so deeply involved 
in shadow. The left hand of the boor leaning over the girl 
is singularly ill made as compared with the masterful bits 
near it. 

This is one of two known canvases given to Vermeer in 
which the artist painted life-size figures. He may later have 
satisfied himself that he achieved better results by working on 
a smaller scale. He likewise learned, evidently, not to load his 
paintings as in this one. The colour of The Procuress should be 
thought rather terrible; if one were told in words of such an 
arrangement of colour tones one would condemn it offhand. 
Yet, in the actual painting, and in the reproduction, it proves 
agreeable and original. 

A Girl Reading a Letter 
State Picture Gallery, Dresden 

Plate 10 

Looking down at a letter which she holds in both hands a 
girl in greenish-yellow bodice stands in profile, facing a window 
at the left. Her hair is coiffured rather intricately with a love- 
lock falling to the shoulder. Before her is a table, over which 
is a partly crumpled rug, of red, yellow and blue. A dish, tip- 
ping to the right, holds fruits, some of which have rolled upon 
the table. 

In the casement window of leaded glass the girl's head is re- 
flected, rather too large. A drapery, hanging from the wall on 
the right, covers the top of the casement. In a corner below 
stands a lion-headed chair. In the extreme foreground, right, 

196 Vermeer 

filling more than one-fourth of the picture, hangs a drapery 
of bronze-green silk. 

In the background to the right behind the girl is a trace of 
the signature: " Meer." 

Canvas, 3 3 inches by 25/4 inches. 

Bought from Paris by de Brais, 1742, for the Royal Gallery, 
Dresden, a year after the purchase of The Procuress and twelve 
years before the purchase of Raphael's Sistine Madonna for the 
same gallery. The Dresden inventories successively described it 
as in Rembrandt's manner, as a Rembrandt, and as a Pieter de 
Hooch. It was engraved in 1783 as a Flinck. Catalogued as by 
J. Vermeer since 1862. 

This is one of the most beautiful and original of Vermeer's 
arrangements, somewhat resembling the Pearl Necklace, Kaiser 
Friedrich Museum, and the Reader, Rijks Museum. It is unique, 
in his ceuvre, in respect of the extent of wall space above the 
figure. This compositional device, of course, is frequently used 
in present-day painting. 

In his treatment of the reading woman's head and hands, 
Vermeer seems to have broken through his rather blocky 
square-touch brushwork, rendering these elements with more 
intensity and sympathy than was his wont. The hands, espe- 
cially, while not entirely successful, have been studied with 
reference to their construction, with evident effort to register 
the delicate modulations over the small bones of the carpus. 

The device of the reflection is charming, and perhaps origi- 
nal with the artist, who has made the head somewhat distorted 
as it would appear when reflected in two or three different 
panes. The forehead at the left in the reflection does not seem 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 197 

about to meet the top of the head, and the outline of the cheek 
does not quite fit with the chin. 

The long drapery at the right, with its play of light and 
shade, has been rendered exquisitely; the curtain over the win- 
dow, on the other hand, strikes a painter as rather foolish. It 
may be that Vermeer could not keep this still enough. 

In colour the painting is not of Vermeer's best. It is rather 
low in tone, a fact which may explain why it was at one time 
attributed to Rembrandt and again to Govaert Flinck. It lacks la 
peinture blonde, characteristic of so much of Vermeer's work. 

The Astronomer 
Stadel Art Institute, Frankjort 

Plate 49 
Holding a pair of compasses in his left hand and surveying 
a white map of the stars on a table, a young man, left, leans for- 
ward, facing in three-quarters towards the left. His right hand 
rests on a book. He wears a bluish gown with orange lining; 
long curls fall to his shoulders. The table is nearly covered with 
a crumpled rug. The light, falling on the youth's right shoulder, 
is from a window, leaded in quaint design, and partly obscured 
by a large curtain, extreme left. Just behind the astronomer is 
a wooden cabinet bearing a globe and some books. To the right 
of this hangs a framed map, beneath which is a chair upholstered 
in tapestry. In the extreme foreground, right, is a square stool 
behind which, on the floor, lie some papers. 

Signed, upper right panel of cupboard door: " I Meer " (the 
I set into, and connected with, the V-shaped centre of the M). 
On the wall, upper right hand corner, are another signature and 

198 Vermeer 

also a date: " I Ver-Meer MDCLXVIIII." This signature, with 
date, on the authority of the catalogue of the Stadel Art Insti- 
tute, is not genuine. A complete discussion of the case of this 
second signature is in the Frankfort Catalogue, pp. 358-9. 

Canvas, 2 1 inches by 1 8 Vi inches. 

For the possible early history of this painting and two others 
with a similar subject, the reader is referred to the discussion of 
the possible early history of The Geographer, in the Collection 
of E. John Magnin, New York, page 125. The later history 
of the Frankfort Astronomer follows: Jonkheer J. Goll van 
Franckenstein, Amsterdam, July 1, 1833, No. 47, 195 florins 
(Nieuwenhuys) ; in the Dumont Collection, Cambrai, i860 
catalogue; Isaac Pereire, Paris, March 6, 1872, No. 132, 7200 
francs; in the collection of Max Kann, Paris; collection of the 
Princess Demidoff of San Donato at Pratoleno near Florence, 
March 15, 1880, No. 11 24; Ad. Joseph Bosch, Vienna, April 
28, 1885, No. 32; in the possession of Ch. Sedelmeyer, Paris; 
and bought in 1885 by the Frankfort Art Association for the 
Stadel Art Institute. 

This picture, and the other similar pictures by our artist, have 
by some writers been thought to be a portrait of Anthony van 
Leeuwenhoek who, as we have already seen, was notable as a 
scientist as well as trustee of Vermeer's estate. Van Leeuwen- 
hoek was also not only a draper by trade but wine-gauger and 
chamberlain to the Sheriffs of Delft, who as we have noted were 
the officials from whom came his appointment as trustee. In 
1 669, as Dr. Clifford Dobell records, van Leeuwenhoek had still 
further demonstrated his versatility by obtaining an appoint- 
ment as a surveyor. 

Dr. Dobell says of the Astronomer and Geographer portraits: 
" There is no authentic record of any portrait of Leeuwenhoek 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 199 

having ever been painted by this great master." Of these por- 
traits, Dr. Dobell goes on to say: " They appear to me to por- 
tray different people. No two are alike, and none bears any 
recognizable likeness to Leeuwenhoek, as we know him from 
Verkolje's authentic portraits. . . . The very fine painting by 
Vermeer at Frankfort shows a man poring over a map or chart, 
and with a pair of compasses in his right hand. Behind his head 
there is a globe, and some other maps are also in the picture — 
a couple loose on the floor, one framed on the wall. . . . The 
globe in the picture is apparently a celestial (not terrestrial) 
globe and is very like that shown in both of Verkolje's portraits. 
Leeuwenhoek must surely have possessed a similar one. In 
Verkolje's oil-painting, furthermore, Leeuwenhoek is shown 
holding a pair of compasses in his right hand — just like Ver- 
meer's Geographer {Astronomer) . The framed map on the 
wall has only an artistic import: it has no ' scientific ' signifi- 
cance, being simply a decoration — introduced into many of 
Vermeer's other pictures which have no connexion with 

' There is no authority for calling this picture The Geogra- 
pher {The Astronomer) — a modern label. Suppose we call it 
The Surveyor? This title seems equally appropriate; and we 
might then suppose that Vermeer was inspired to paint it by 
seeing Leeuwenhoek at work on ground-plans and surveys in 
preparation for his qualifying examination in 1669! But all this 
is mere guesswork, though the coincidences just noted are curi- 
ous — if nothing more. The Geographer himself is not much 
like Leeuwenhoek; and there is no evidence, as I have already 
remarked, that Vermeer ever painted his portrait." 

Because of its lack of the complete perfection of technique 
of which Vermeer was capable this picture has been placed by 
some critics among his early works, contemporary with the 

200 Vermeer 

Milkivoman. The edges are hard and not well understood. 
While the head has admirable qualities its outline against the 
dresser is not very good. The pointille facture of the rug should 
be noted. Vermeer seems to have used this dot stroke in emer- 
gencies all through his career. The Astronomer contains noth- 
ing of his square-touch technique which was, apparently, a late 

A Painter's Studio 
sometimes called Fortran of the Artist 
Collection of Count Czernin, Vienna 

Plate 50 

A seated painter, his back to the spectator, is at work, in the 
foreground somewhat to the right of the canvas, on a picture 
the subject of which he has sketched in chalk. 

The man wears a doublet with strips of black cloth over 
white. He has short trousers, quite loose, and red hose, over 
which are pulled a pair of loosely fitting white stockings. He 
wears low shoes. On his head is a flat cap, or beret, of velvet. 
His right hand, which holds a brush, rests on a mahlstick. He 
is painting a bit of the model's wreath in a bluish tone. 

The model, apparently a figure of Renown, stands facing to 
the left in three-quarters near the centre of the picture. She 
holds a trumpet in her left hand; in her right hand, a yellow 
book. She wears a bluish gaberdine with skirt of light colour. 
Behind her, covering much of the wall, is a large map of the 
Seventeen Provinces. At the top of the map is the description: 
" Nova XVII Provinciarum . . . descriptio . . . et accurata 
earundem . . . edit . . . per Nicolaum Piscatorem." 

At the extreme right, in the immediate foreground, is a tapes- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 201 

try filling quite one-fourth of the picture. 1 Also in the fore- 
ground, lower right, is a chair with brass bosses, and behind this 
is a table bearing two books, one open and one standing on end, 
a work basket, certain draperies and, interestingly, a cast from 
the Brutus of Michelangelo. A brass chandelier hangs from the 
timbered ceiling; the floor is of black and white squares. 

Signed on an inset forming part of the map, on a level with 
the girl's shoulder: " I Ver-Meer." 

Canvas, 5 2 inches by 44 inches. 

Prior to 1866 this painting was No. 75 in the Czernin Gal- 
lery catalogue and was attributed to Pieter de Hooch. Professor 
G. F. Waagen, Director of the Royal Gallery of Paintings in 
Berlin, writing in 1866 of the foremost art collections of 
Vienna, states that in 1 860 he recognized in " this beautiful 
painting " a " major work of the admirable master " Vermeer. 
Waagen added that, along with a painting by Paul Potter, he 
regarded this as " the high spot of the whole collection." 
M. Thore, in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1866, refers to a 
signature of Pieter de Hooch on the rung of the stool. This he 
believed to be old but spurious. He found the Vermeer signa- 
ture, as above, on the map and reproduced it in his article. 

Late in 1935, the picture being on loan to the Kunsthis- 
torisches Museum, Vienna, rumours were widespread that 
large offers for the picture, which has often been referred to as 
the most important picture by Vermeer still in private hands, 
had been made to Count Czernin. 

1 Called by several writers a Gobelins tapestry, which it could be, though the 
Gobelins factory had only recently been inaugurated, on June i, 1662, and its 
products may not have been widely dispersed between then and Vermeer's death. 
The tapestry in this picture may well have been of local manufacture, since tapes- 
try makers were recorded as members of the Guild of St. Luke in Delft and Ver- 
meer's father was recorded as a textile worker. 


The painting, after Vermeer's death, was in possession of his 
widow, Catharina Bolnes, who gave it to her mother as security 
for a loan. 

It may not be an exaggeration to say that this painting is the 
supreme achievement of its kind. Its subject matter is not par- 
ticularly interesting; it is, indeed, in some respects, almost ab- 
surd. The girl's figure is merely that of a model in a rather silly 
pose. This, nevertheless, is the one work by Vermeer the tech- 
nique of which is practically flawless. The man's hand and pos- 
sibly the hand of the girl holding the trumpet are the only bits 
in which one detects any faltering. It is a painting on which 
the artist worked for the unalloyed joy of rendering supremely 
well what he saw as he saw it. He was as one of whom it might 
be truly said that he 

" Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things 
as They are! " 

To literary critics of art and other laymen it may not be sig- 
nificant that Vermeer evidently found his happiness in perfect 
technique, but any competent painter understands that it is the 
expression of this joy of accomplishment which makes a work 
of art worth while, and here is a painting in which everything 
is well made — all that one can say of it critically is that some 
things in it are even better done than some other things. 

Its most astonishing triumph, perhaps, is the rendering of 
the chandelier, intricate in detail, painted with the utmost sim- 
plicity and directness, with some parts brought out sharp and 
others blurred. 

An insistence on Tightness of edges persists throughout the 
design. In looking at the man's head observe where the hair 
blurs into the map on the light side, where the dark cap comes 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 203 

sharp against the map where this is light, blurs a little where 
it comes darker, sharpens again where it comes against the light 
of the map and the easel. 

The map, again, is a marvellous part of the picture. It is ren- 
dered in complete detail and yet it holds its place perfectly. 
The little pictures of towns are discerned, the little ships are 
drawn individually, the allegorical design in the corner and 
other minutiae are plain to be seen, and still the light slides 
across the map as simply and as naturally as on one of the bare 
walls which Vermeer loved to paint. 

In colour this is the work by Vermeer which comes closest 
to the actual aspect of nature. It shows no forced tonality, nor 
is there in it anywhere the apparently accidental tone, the bluish 
or greenish note, that is observable in some of his other paint- 
ings. Its tone is that which nature always suggests, which is 
hardest to get and most beautiful when achieved. Such tonal 
success comes only from seeing and painting each colour value 
exactly right, trusting to no binding " sauce " to pull the thing 

Some writers have thought that the artist depicted in the 
Studio is Vermeer himself. This supposition is obviously based 
on the wording of an entry in the 1696 sale catalogue, viz.: 
"3. 't Portrait van Vermeer in een Kamer met verscheyde 
bywerk ongemeen fraai van hem geschildert," which may be 
translated: " Portrait of Vermeer in a room, with various acces- 
sories uncommonly handsome, painted by him." 

Another conjecture is that Pieter de Hooch posed for Ver- 
meer in the Studio. Unfortunately for the probability of this 
surmise Vermeer was still a young man when de Hooch spent 
three or four years at Delft; the painting under considera- 
tion has a technical perfection belonging to Vermeer's latest 

204 Vermeer 

Still another conjecture is that a hired model posed for 

Whether this is, or is not, a self-portrait, Vermeer's method 
of work, nevertheless, may very well be revealed by this paint- 
ing. His artist has sketched in his subject with white chalk and 
is painting it touch by touch (de premier coup or alia prima) 
without having made any previous rub-in or ebauche. This, it 
is likely, was Vermeer's own mode of painting, for it is improb- 
able that he took ironic satisfaction in depicting some friend 
who was working in a wrong way. 

The perfection of a man's artistry seemingly should not mili- 
tate against it. Yet something like this has happened to the 
Studio. It is probably the most nearly perfect of Vermeer's 
works, and its colour is in an admirable state of preservation. 
Because, however, the canvas lacks the bluish-grey tone charac- 
teristic of some of Vermeer's paintings it is rather out of favour 
with certain critics. Whatever their opinion of it, it is a mar- 
vellous production. It carries reality as far as even Vermeer ever 
carried it; and in its realism it is wholly artistic. 

A perhaps pathetic circumstance is that the artist of this pic- 
ture should be depicted as painting a figure of Renown. This 
goddess certainly passed Vermeer by for many years. 

Portrait of a Woman 

Museum of Fine Arts, Buda-Pesth 

Plate 51 

A woman, with folded hands, stands almost in full face. She 

wears a small cap and a large white collar decorated with a knot 

of yellow silk. Her gown is of dark blue with white cuifs. On 

her right hand is a glove decked out with yellow ribbons. Her 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 205 

right hand holds a small fan. In the background, at the woman's 
left, is a table cover, reddish in hue, its pattern worked out in 
some detail. A chair is vaguely disclosed at her right. 

Canvas, 3 2/4 inches by 26 inches. 

It was in the Esterhazy Collection, Vienna, of 486 pictures 
which in 1865 was purchased en bloc by the Hungarian gov- 
ernment for the National Picture Gallery, Buda-Pesth, for 
1,300,000 florins. The collection thus begun was transferred, 
much augmented by other purchases through the intervening 
years, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Buda-Pesth, erected 1900- 

This painting, under the title of Lady ivith Gloves and a Fan, 
was, until the middle nineties of the last century, attributed to 
Rembrandt. It is hard to see why. The facture, the manner of at- 
tack and the colour are quite different from his. Much in it sug- 
gests Vermeer, the attribution to whom, originally made by 
Dr. A. Bredius, is now accepted by several writers, though 
others regard it as doubtful. The little bows are of the yellow 
which Vermeer loved and they are brushed in with the crisp 
square touch which he frequently used. The general tone is 
like his, as is the almost startling impression of lifelikeness which 
the work gives. 

Other Paintings Sometimes Attributed to Vermeer 

Of the forty-seven pictures discussed in the foregoing pages 
certain pictures, though ably supported by one or more opinions 
which properly command respect, may still be regarded as not 
yet having fully " arrived " in the final list of completely ac- 
cepted and authenticated works by our painter. They may be 

206 Vermeer 

said to be still " on probation," and that fact has been duly noted 
in the discussion of the individual pictures in question. 

In general it may be said that attribution of paintings to Ver- 
meer should be considered, if at all, in a spirit of cautious criti- 
cism, for belief that an old painting which conceivably might 
be by Vermeer must be by Vermeer is readily stimulated by 
the high valuations that have been placed upon the well-authen- 
ticated works of this master. 

' To hear almost every year of a newly discovered Vermeer 
may cause suspicion," writes Dr. W. R. Valentiner, in an article 
on The Smiling Girl, in the Mellon Collection, in Art in America 
for April, 1928. " And indeed we can be sure that in the en- 
deavor to discover unknown works by this rare master in recent 
times, paintings have often been associated with his name which 
cannot stand serious criticism. On the other hand it is still quite 
possible that for a number of years to come new Vermeers may 
now and then appear. But even then it would take some time be- 
fore a complete list of the works of the artist would number 
fifty, which is after all a small enough output for a painter who 
worked at least twenty years. 

" It seems that it should be an easy matter to recognize with 
certainty a work by Vermeer, so pronounced is his style, his 
manner of composition and his technique. With the exception of 
a few early works which show the influence of his master, Carel 
Fabritius, and through him of Rembrandt, there is scarcely a 
change in Vermeer 's manner during the whole period of his 
maturity. The mistakes in attribution are usually, to my mind, 
due to the fact that those who are striving to discover new Ver- 
meers persuade themselves, when they come upon paintings 
which have a faint resemblance either to the subject, composi- 
tion, or technique of the master, that the artist might have once 
as an experiment gone aside from his usual path and developed in 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 207 

other directions. But as a matter of fact he did not. If we go 
through his authenticated works we find that the relationship 
among these paintings refers not only to subject, but to compo- 
sition and technique also, and that they are so close in all these 
elements that after one knows a few works by the master the 
others are much more easily recognized than is the case with al- 
most any other great artist of the past. Very few of the great mas- 
ters have been so limited in their imagination or at least have 
seemed to care so little for the subject they painted and concen- 
trated so exclusively upon the quality of execution in colour and 
light effects. Vermeer used a very small number of models, and 
repeated certain details like costumes, curtains, pillows, win- 
dows, mantelpieces, and even the paintings hanging on the wall 
so often that newly discovered works by him frequently seem 
like puzzle pictures composed of pieces taken from different 
groupings in known paintings by him." 

Experience indicates that the number of pictures which from 
time to time will be attributed to Vermeer will be literally with- 
out end. No list of these attributions, therefore, can hope ever 
to be complete and final, and all that can be done in a compilation 
is to set down such information as is available at any given time in 
regard to pictures so attributed which are at that moment be- 
lieved to be actually in existence. 

There follow now brief descriptions of several of such existent 
paintings and drawings which by one authority or another have 
been attributed to Vermeer of Delft. 

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, sometimes called The Un- 
just Steward. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, from 
the collection of Viscount Rothermere. This picture has been 
accepted as by Vermeer by Dr. Wilhelm von Bode, though, as 
Mr. H. Granville Fell, Editor of The Connoisseur, says in his 

208 Vermeer 

" Vermeer," " the supposition that it may be by Carel Fabritius 
is strong. It is solidly painted, full in colour, with a Rembrandtian 
effect of light and shade." It has also been attributed to another 
Rembrandt pupil, Samuel van Hoogstraten. Rembrandt, him- 
self, painted a famous picture of this same subject which is in the 
Wallace Collection, London. 

History: " N. N.", Berlin; Bottenwiesser (dealer), Berlin (in 
1926); Viscount Rothermere, London; National Gallery of 
Scotland, Edinburgh. 

Mr. P. G. Konody, in his " Works of Art in the Collection of 
Viscount Rothermere," 1932, says of this picture: "Vermeer 
stands nearer to Rembrandt here than does any of his direct 
pupils." Mr. Konody gives a description of the colouration and 
the chiaroscuro, which, he believes, substantiates the attribution 
of the work to Vermeer. He classes it with " other youthful 
works " such as Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha and 
The Toilette of Diana. 

An Officer at an Open Window. Published as " The 4000- 
Guinea ' Vermeer,' " in The Illustrated London News, June 3, 

History: The picture, measuring 45 inches by 32 inches, was 
bought in 1863 by Dr. Walter Dickson; inherited by his son, 
Dr. T. H. Dickson, of Kingston-on-Thames; sold by his widow 
through Messrs. Robinson, Fisher and Harding at Willis's auc- 
tion rooms, London, May 11, 1922, to Mr. Frank T. Sabin, of 
172, New Bond Street, for 4000 guineas. 

The subject is an officer seated at an open window holding a 
gun, with a lady playing the virginals in the background. The 
painter's signature is said to appear on the top right-hand corner 
of the instrument. 

This painting, however, is considered by Dr. W. R. Valen- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 209 

tiner to be a work by Hendrik van der Burch, an interesting and 
heretofore little known artist, who in Dr. Valentiner's opinion 
painted several pictures which have been wrongly ascribed to 

In a special section devoted to the work of van der Burch in his 
book on Pieter de Hooch, published in 1929 in the series Klas- 
siker der Kunst, Dr. Valentiner prints a reproduction of this pic- 
ture on page 243. 

Portrait of a Girl. Collection of Mr. C. A. Boughton Knight, 
Duncton Castle, England. Canvas, 17 inches by 14/4 inches. 
Exhibited at the Birmingham Exhibition of Midland Art Treas- 
ures, in the winter of 1934-35, directed by Mr. S. C. Kaines 
Smith, Keeper of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 
who writes of the picture in The Connoisseur for January, 1935: 
" In technique, in quality and in feeling, I have no hesitation in 
claiming this work for Vermeer." Mr. Nikolaus Pevsner, on the 
other hand, writes, in The Burlington Magazine for January, 
1935: " The Portrait of a Girl, being introduced as a new Ver- 
meer, gave rise to much controversy. The picture is extremely 
pleasing, but I find myself unable to see Vermeer's hand in it. 
Kronig suggests Dujardin, which does not seem satisfactory 
either. I should like to plead for Sweerts, and Dr. H. Schneider, 
the Director of the Dutch Institute for the History of Art at The 
Hague, supports that attribution." 

Mary Magdalene at the Foot of the Cross. Collection of Major 
F. H. Fawkes, Otley, England. Exhibited at the Boymans Mu- 
seum, Rotterdam, 1935, in the exhibition of paintings by Ver- 
meer and other Dutch masters (No. 79a). The catalogue of this 
exhibition states that this picture is probably earlier than the 
signed work Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha. Exhibited 
at Manchester, England, 1934. 

210 Vermeer 

Canvas, 60% inches by 54 inches. 

M. Jean Decoen, in The Burlington Magazine for September, 
1935, writing of the Boymans Museum Exhibition, expresses the 
opinion that this is " a new example of Vermeer's Italianate 
period . . . certainly a Vermeer." Dr. Alfred Scharf, on the 
other hand, writing of the Exhibition in The Connoisseur for 
November, 1935, says: "It is surprising to find classed as an 
early work of Vermeer a picture of Mary Magdalene at the foot 
of the Cross, from the Collection of Major Fawkes at Otley. 
Neither in its feeling nor in its technique can I find any relation 
to Vermeer's work. On the contrary, the classicism of the whole 
pose, as well as the elegance of the handling, point to the brush 
of a French Caravaggist, to an artist of tenebrist tendencies such 
as Robert Tournier." 

Still Life. In the possession of J. O. Kronig, of The Hague. 
It has been exhibited on loan at the Leyden Museum. 

The principal object in this picture is a stoneware beer jug, 
partly white and partly light yellowish brown, with a pewter 
fid in which the studio window is reflected. It stands among 
some peeled chestnuts and chestnut shells, on a brown marble 
table, against a dark background. 

Canvas, 20% inches by 17%? inches. 

This is a cleverly made painting. If one has no cogent reason 
to say that it is not by Vermeer, no strong reason appears for 
asserting that it is. Published, Burlington Magazine, October, 

Some one has urged that the work should be attributed to 
Vermeer because a light object — the jug — is placed against 
a dark background. Yet, in many instances, Vermeer showed 
a preference for representing dark objects against a light back- 
ground. More possibly conclusive are the touches of ultra- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 211 

marine in the high lights of the chestnut shells; these evince a 
feeling for colour value uncommon in the Holland of Ver- 
meer 's day, except in his own paintings. Other portions of the 
canvas reveal qualities usually associated with Vermeer's tech- 
nique. The marble table is painted much as are the clavichords, 
grained to look like marble in several of his paintings. The re- 
flection of the studio window on the lid has something of Ver- 
meer's careful observation and close rendering. The arrange- 
ment is not particularly exciting; if, indeed, it is by Vermeer the 
painting of the marble, so like his marbled clavichords, dates it 
as made, probably, towards the end of his life. 

That Vermeer sometimes painted still-life pictures without 
figures may possibly be indicated by an entry in the Hoet Cata- 
logue (Vol. I, p. 33) of a sale at Amsterdam, May 9, 1696: " 19. 
Een stil leven van Vermeer, 4 — 5." This is not conclusive, 
however, for in almost every Vermeer entry in the Hoet Cata- 
logue, we find that pictures now generally accepted as by 
" our " Vermeer are specifically stated to be by Vermeer, or van 
der Meer, of Delft, and there are several pictures ascribed sim- 
ply to " Vermeer " which evidently are the work of one of the 
Vermecrs of Haarlem. 

Still Life. Marczell de Nemes Collection, Amsterdam. 

A scarf of blue satin, reflecting the light, hangs from a casket, 
the latter standing on two books, bound in the Netherland fash- 
ion with strips of leather. In front are a jug of white Delft ware, 
apparently lying on its side, a melon and a glass tumbler. Over 
the edge of the latter hangs a bunch of white grapes. Before 
the foregoing objects is a plate, reddish, on which are a red 
peach, two apples, a pear and a bunch of black grapes. 

Canvas, 15 % inches by 20 inches. 


In the sale of Frederich Muller and Company, Amsterdam, 
Nov. 13-14, 1928. Sold for 21,000 guilder. 

An able painting, rendered with skilful and adequate tech- 
nique. The cool, meticulous care with which the various parts 
of it are made does, measurably, recall the miracle-maker of 
Delft. There is little or nothing in the facture, however, which 
bespeaks Vermeer. 

Portrait of a Young Girl. Collection of D. G. van Beuningen, 
Rotterdam. Published as a Vermeer by Dr. C. Hofstede de 
Groot in his " Vermeer and Carel Fabritius," Supplement, 1930, 
No. 47. Earlier attributed to Gerard Terborch. 

Canvas, 14% inches by 12% inches. 

This picture, in the opinion of Dr. W. R. Valentiner, is not by 

The Girl with the Cat. A young girl with a cap and a brown 
jacket is petting a cat. She leans her hands on a wall. 

Canvas, 2 2 inches by 1 8 inches. 

E. Reulens Sale, Brussels, April 17, 1883, No. 284; in the 
possession of the dealer, Rothschild, 1930. 

This picture is regarded by some critics as by Vermeer; by 
others as the work of some one of his followers. Dr. Valentiner 
does not believe it to be the work of Vermeer. 

View of Delft with a Bleaching Ground in Front. Goud- 
stikker Collection, Amsterdam. A view of Delft with small fig- 
ures in the foreground. 

Canvas, 3 2 Vi inches by 42 % inches. 

Published as a Vermeer by Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot in his 
" Vermeer and Carel Fabritius," Supplement, 1930. On June 23, 
1923, Mr. M. F. Hennus, in De Amsterdammer Weekblad voor 
Nederland, citing Dr. W. von Bode and Dr. de Groot as having 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 213 

attributed the work to Vermeer, said: " With the discovery of 
this picture, which is a worthy companion piece to the View of 
Delft in the Mauritshuis, Messrs. Goudstikker in Amsterdam 
have certainly made one of the most important and thrilling 
artistic finds of the last few years." In 1930 Dr. W. R. Valen- 
tiner wrote: "I am sure that the large landscape of Delft be- 
longing to Goudstikker in Amsterdam is not by the artist 
[Vermeer] and cannot in any way be compared to the great 
work at The Hague." It has also been attributed to one of the 
Vermeers of Haarlem. 

Conversation Piece. Private Collection, the Netherlands. Pub- 
lished by Dr. A. Bredius, Burlington Magazine, October, 1932. 
At the date of publication it was in the hands of the son of the 
former director of Goupil's Gallery, The Hague. 

Canvas, 24% inches by 20 inches. 

Lot and his Daughters. Hertz Collection, Hamburg. At- 
tributed to Vermeer by Professor Willem Vogelsang, Director 
of the Kunstistor Institute, Utrecht. Mr. H. Granville Fell says 
of this painting: " There is nothing intrinsically characteristic of 
Vermeer to interest us in the picture." See next paragraph. 

The Huntsman's Rest, in the Louvre, " wrongly attributed to 
Jan van der Meer," says Dr. W. R. Valentiner, in his book on 
Pieter de Hooch, " and the picture in the Hamburg Gallery 
which is related to it are probably by Ludolf de Jongh." 

Study Head of a Boy. Royal Print Collection, Berlin. 

A boy's head in full face; the light from the left. He wears 
a black felt hat and a broad white collar. 

Painted in oil-colours on yellow-brown paper, 6 % inches by 
7 % inches. 

214 Vermeer 

Described in Dr. Hofstede de Groot's Catalogue, under 46b. 
Sale: Collection of drawings formed by G. Leembruggen, Am- 
sterdam, March 5, 1866, No. 708 (Suermondt); Suermondt 
Collection, Aix-la-Chapelle. 

It is hard to believe that this head is by Vermeer. It shows 
neither the square touch nor the small pointille touch which he 
habitually used. The high lights on the lips are not in his man- 
ner. Compare with the Head of a Girl, the Hague Museum. 
The light and shade are not well understood. The edge of the 
shadow on the forehead is ill observed, the penumbra being of 
the same value as the shadow — a fault not committed by 
Vermeer. The reflected lights are exaggerated, and their edges 
are oversharp against the dark hat. 

Portrait of a Young Woman. Collection of Jean Schmit. Pub- 
lished in Apollo, January, 1935, accompanied by an article by 
M. Paul Lambotte. Said to have been in the Collection of Count 
Berchtold, former Chancellor of Austria-Hungary, at Vienna, 
and prior to 19 14 attributed to Vermeer by Dr. C. Hofstede de 
Groot. A half-effaced inscription on the reverse side has been 
read as " Helgand Jans van Vormer, aged twenty-seven in 
1659." This inscription has led to certain easy and obvious 

The Physician. Stchavinsky Collection, Leningrad. Sale of 
P. V. Lelarova Collection, Petrograd, 19 16. Catalogue of the 
V. A. Stchavinsky Collection, Petrograd, 19 17, pages 35-36. 
Probably painted by Cornells de Man. 

Drawings Sometimes Attributed to Vermeer 

Several drawings have been by some critics ascribed to Ver- 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 215 

Reproductions of three of these are published in " Vermeer 
van Delft," by Benno Reiffenberg and Wilhelm Hausenstein, 
Munich, 1924. 

One, in the Stadel Art Institute, Frankfort, j% 6 inches by 
1 1 7 A« inches, shows essentially the same scene as the View 
of Delft at The Hague. Unless in subject it does not resemble 
Vermeer. Hardly suggestive of his broad, ample chiaroscuro is 
the " snappy," highly accented style in which the houses are 
drawn. A mass of foliage appears in the foreground which is 
not in the View of Delft, and a funny little man in a boat, push- 
ing himself from the shore with a pole, is in the staccato manner 
of, say, Jacques Callot or some other technician of the pica- 
resque period. 

A drawing, in the Albertina, Vienna (1935) 7Xs inches by 
i2K 6 inches, is a view of Delft from a different standpoint, 
depicting the high spire of the New Church. It is an attractive 
drawing, in the general style of many of Rembrandt's brilliant 
water colour sketches in monochrome. In almost every tech- 
nical respect its manner is antithetical to Vermeer's. 

A drawing, in the Albertina Museum, Vienna, Vienna 
(1935) y l A inches by 5% inches, delineates a boy, or possibly a 
woman, who leans on the back of a chair. A conspicuous defect 
is that the hands are too small. One sees no compelling reason 
to suppose it to be by Vermeer. It is made with broad mono- 
chrome washes, a method which Rembrandt and most of his 
pupils followed. 

A red-chalk drawing showing a woman seated, full length, 
asleep, facing towards the spectator's left. Collection J. Q. van 
Regteren Altena, Amsterdam, was published in Oud-Holland, 

216 Vermeer 

Paintings Formerly Attributed to Vermeer 

Several other paintings which at one time and another have 
been attributed to Vermeer of Delft are now believed, on appar- 
ently good authority, not to be his. While there is a possibility 
that further study may reverse present opinion regarding some 
of the attributions suggested in Dr. H. de Groot's Catalogue Rai- 
sonne, the following is a list of works not to be accepted as by 
Vermeer unless new and convincing evidence for such authen- 
tication shall be presented: 

Family Group, Czernin Collection. Is by Renesse (doubtless 
Constantin Adrian Renesse, etcher, c. 1 660, or J. Renesse, land- 
scape painter, who may have been identical with the foregoing) . 

Soldiers at a Tavern, Borghese Gallery. By P. de Hooch 
(see 272 in H. de Groot's Catalogue Raisonne of de Hooch's 
works) . 

Card Players, No. 1 2, Angiot Sale, Paris, 1 875. By de Hooch 
(see 264, H. de G.'s Catalogue). 

Family in the Courtyard of a House, Vienna Academy. By 
de Hooch (see 3 2 1 , H. de G.'s Catalogue) . 

Two Ladies and Two Gentlemen in an Interior, Havemeyer 
Collection, New York. By de Hooch (see 192, H. de G.'s 

Catalogue) . 

Music Lesson, Wallace Collection. By Jan Steen, c. 1626- 
1679 (see 412, H. de G.'s Catalogue Raisonne of Steen's 
works) . 

Woman feeling Apples, Wallace Collection. By de Hooch 
(see 33, H. de G.'s Catalogue). 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 217 

A Young Woman Feeling an Apple for Her Child. By 
Gerard Terborch, 1617-1681 (see also Bry ail's Dictionary of 
Painters and Engravers, which so attributes it) . 

Concert with Four Persons, Kurt Collection, Berlin. Offered, 
1 86 1 , to the Brussels Museum as a de Hooch. 

Sleeping Maid-Servant, No. 34, Thore Sale, Paris, 1892. 
Believed to be not by Vermeer but by Esaias Boursse, c. 1630- 
c. 1672. 

Old Woman Reading the Bible, Collection Adolphe Schoss, 
Paris. Signed by Jacobus Vrel. 

" Among the painters who by the casual museum visitor are 
easily mistaken for Pieter de Hooch," Dr. W. R. Valentiner has 
written (Art in America, February, 1929), " the most fascinat- 
ing is perhaps the mysterious Jacobus Vrel, mysterious because 
his name is known to us only through the signature on some of 
his paintings. No mention is made of him in old Dutch auction 
catalogues or documents. We have, in fact, no actual proof that 
he was a Dutchman. Although he is generally associated with 
the schools of Delft or of Amsterdam, he may equally well have 
been a native of one of the neighbouring countries — Friesland 
or the lower Rhineland. 

11 He is entirely preoccupied with problems of color and the 
values of light, and to this end he simplifies the arrangement of 
his compositions as far as possible. He seems extraordinarily 
modern in this respect, and we understand in a measure how 
Burger-Thore (1866), who re-discovered Vermeer, should 
have attributed several of Vrel's paintings to this great master 
with whom Vrel had in common a disregard of detail very rare 
in that day." 

218 Vermeer 

A Boy Blowing Soap Bubbles. Is by Esaias Boursse, c. 1630- 
c. 1672. 

A Young Gentleman Writing a Letter. By Gabriel Metsu 
(see 185, H. de G.'s Catalogue Raisonne of works by Metsu). 

So-called Portrait of the Artist, Thore Collection, 1 866; later 
in possession of M. Porges, Paris. By Cornells de Man, of Delft, 

Country House, Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin. By Dirck 
Jan van de Laan. 

Vestibule of the St. Agatha Cloister, Rijks Museum. Prob- 
ably by Emanuel de Witte, 1 607-1 692. 

Interior of a Cloister, Thore Collection. By J. Vrel. 

A Nun Conversing with a Woman in the Street, Rijks 
Museum No. 2600. Signed J. Vrel. It was in the Thore Collec- 
tion, 1866; No. 33, Thore Sale, Paris, 1892. 

A Young Woma?i Sewing. At a window a woman sits sew- 
ing beside a table covered with a cloth on which is a beer jug. 
An open door shows another room hung with gilt leather. By 
Hendrik van der Burch, though in the Museum at Hanover it is 
catalogued under the name of Pieter de Hooch. 

Canvas, 1 9 inches by 1 5 inches. 

Sales: Amsterdam, 1779, according to M. Thore; J. Pekstok, 
Amsterdam, 1792. 

Interior of a Town, seen by Thore in Hudtwalker Collection, 
Hamburg. By J. Vrel. 

Pictures of a Town. Certainly not by Vermeer. 

Landscapes. Certainly not by Vermeer of Delft but possibly 
by one of his namesakes of Haarlem. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 219 

Three still life pieces. Not by Vermeer; one in the Hermit- 
age, Leningrad, is certainly by Melchior d' Hondekoeter, 

Various paintings which M. Thore himself only very doubt- 
fully asserted to be by Vermeer. 

A Family Group. National Gallery, London. The left half 
was formerly attributed as The Lesson to Vermeer, but the 
National Gallery catalogue has for many years attributed the 
entire picture to Michael Sweerts (1615-20 — after 1656). This 
painting has had an interesting recent history. At some unknown 
date it was cut in two and the left half presented to the National 
Gallery by C. Fairfax Murray, 1900. In the Gallery catalogue 
for 1 9 1 o it was ascribed to Vermeer. In that year, however, the 
right half was purchased from M. Flersheim, Paris, as A Family 
Group by Sweerts. The two pictures were joined in 191 5, the 
ascription to Vermeer having been abandoned. While the sepa- 
rate left half of the Family Group was still supposed to be a 
Vermeer it was thus described in " A Popular Handbook to the 
National Gallery," by E. T. Cook, who quotes M. H. Witt, in 
the Nineteenth Century for October, 1900, as follows: "A 
symphony in black and white; cool in effect, almost to the 
point of austerity and chilliness. The faces are full of expres- 
sion. The master turns in expectation to the pupil, as much as 
to say ' Come, don't you know? ' The pupil is ready with his 
answer, and seems to appeal for encouragement: ' That is right, 
is it not? ' There is a severe absence of details; everything in the 
picture is made to contribute to the colour scheme. ' The play 
of cool light on the faces and hands, on the man's black dress, 
and the gray tablecloth with its patches of blue shadow; the de- 
sign of the man's large hat against the dark background, the 
almost pathetic charm of the fair-haired boy's expression, the 


regular black and white of the tiled floor, — all seem chosen for 
their pictorial value alone and skilfully composed into this grave, 
almost austere harmony. The largeness of design and rejection 
of all superfluous detail in this picture connect it with Ver- 
meer's more daring compositions." Mr. Cook adds: " Only one 
life-size group by the master is certainly authenticated, the 
signed Courtesan at Dresden. The attribution of our picture to 
the master is uncertain." See Plate 53. 

Dr. Valentiner, in The Pantheon for July, 1932, writes of this 
painting: " The attribution to Michael Sweerts is by no means 
satisfactory. Sweerts is much more exact in his drawing, applies 
stronger light contrasts, reveals in the rusty, red-brown shadow 
tones (here entirely missing) his connection with the Caravaggio 
school, and has, as far as is known, never painted large pictures. 
It is besides most questionable whether at the time when this 
painting originated he was still alive; we last hear of him in 

From internal evidence and comparison with known portraits 
of a similar subject by Leendert van der Cooghen, Dr. Valen- 
tiner considers the assumption probable that the picture is really 
the work of van der Cooghen and portrays van der Cooghen's 
close friend the artist Vincent Laurens van der Vinne and fam- 
ily, painted at about 1667. 

Diana and Her Nymphs. Sackville Gallery, London. Once 
attributed to Vermeer but attribution later withdrawn by the 
Sackville Gallery. 

Girl Pouring Wine. At Sackville Gallery, London, and at- 
tributed tentatively to Vermeer by C. J. Holmes, Burlington 
Magazine, July, 1909. Attribution later abandoned by the Sack- 
ville Gallery. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 221 

Portrait of the Artist. French private collection. Attributed 
by C. J. Holmes, Burlington Magazine ', July, 1909, to Vermeer. 
Attribution later abandoned by the Sackville Gallery, which 
had exhibited it. 

A Picture of a Street. In front of an old house a girl con- 
verses with an elderly woman, the latter reclining at a window. 
Through a doorway the street is seen. By Jacobus Vrel. 


Sale: Amsterdam, 1828. 

Procession at the Gateway of Leyden University on Degree 
Day. By Hendrik van der Burch. 
Canvas, 29 inches by 24 inches. 
Sale: P. van Romondt, Amsterdam, 1833. 

A Gentleman and a Lady Eating Oysters. The lady stands 
pouring wine into a tall glass held on a silver platter. Near her 
on the table are a dish of oysters and a plate of bread. The 
gentleman, seated nearby, watches the lady anxiously. By Pieter 
de Hooch. 

Canvas or panel, 1 9 Vz inches by 1 6 inches. 

Sale: Jacob Crammer Simonsz, Amsterdam, 1778. 

Lost Paintings Once Listed as by Vermeer 

A list of paintings said to be by Vermeer, concerning which 
there is documentary mention, and no present knowledge, was 
prepared by Dr. Hofstede de Groot for his admirable Catalogue 
Raisonne. This is herewith followed, with due acknowledg- 
ment of the research that made it possible. 

A Young Girl Conversing with a Doctor (of Medicine?). 
Canvas, 32 inches by 26 inches. 
Sale: J. Hulswit, Amsterdam, 1822. 


A Nun Reading. 

Copper, 1 7 inches by 1 5 inches. 

Sale: Leyden, 1821. 

The Goldsmith's Shop. In a goldsmith's shop four tradesmen 
sit at a table. One has a touchstone in his hand. There are also 
two workmen. 

Canvas, 1 2 inches by 1 3 Vx inches. 

Sale: Barend Kooy, Amsterdam, 1820. 

A Woman Weighing Gold. According to the description in 
the sale catalogues this work corresponds in certain respects to 
the painting of the Nieuhoff Sale, 1777 (now in the Widener 
Collection) . The woman, however, wears a red dress and a black 
cap, which are apparently not identical with the costume of the 
work at Philadelphia. It is stated, furthermore, that in this pic- 
ture an open door gives a view into a second room. The dimen- 
sions are not those of the Widener work. 

Canvas, 24 inches by 2 1 inches. 

Sales: The Hague, 1780 (?); Amsterdam, 1809. 

At the Art Dealer's. A gentleman sits, his elbow on a table, 
and inspects objects of art which a dealer shows him. In his 
hand is a paper. 

Signed on the paper: " J. v. d. Meer. 

Panel, 11 inches by 10 inches. 

Sale: M. Neven, Cologne, 1879. 

The Flower Girl. With her right hand holding forth some 
flowers and her left grasping her cloak, a young girl at three- 
quarters length stands facing the spectator. Behind her is a stone 
bridge with balustrade, beyond which is a high wall with 
Roman statues. On a pedestal near the girl are a bird and a 
large sculptured vase, with a spray of orange blossoms. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 223 

Canvas, 1 9 Vi inches by 1 6 Vi inches. 
Sale: Clave-Bouhaben, Cologne, 1894. 

A Lady Making Lace. She sits at a table. Said to be finely- 
painted — by Vermeer or in his style. 
Panel, 9 Vi inches by 8 inches. 
Sale: D. de Jongh, Rotterdam, 18 10. 

A Woman Making Lace. 
20 inches by 1 6 inches. 
Sale: Hoorn, 1817. 

A Woman Making Lace. Fine in its effect of light, brown, 
and vigorously painted. 

Panel, 1 2 inches by 1 o Vi inches. 

Sale: H. Stokvisch, C. Henning and others, Amsterdam, 

Woman and Boy Sitting by the Fireside in a Room. 

Panel, 24 inches by 18 inches. 

Sale: A. van Beestingh and others, Rotterdam, 1832. 

A Woman at Work -with a Child. Working at a table a 
woman in silk gown trimmed with fur receives an apple from 
a little girl. 

Canvas, 37 inches by 24 inches. 

Sale: Roos, Amsterdam, 1841, according to M. Thore. 

A Woman with Needlework in Her Lap. She looks at a 
child seated on the ground near her. 

Panel, 36 inches by 26 inches. 

Sales: (supplementary) P. M. Kesler, C. Apostool and others, 
Amsterdam, 1844; J. A. A. de Lelie and others, Amsterdam, 

224 Vermeer 

Woman and Child. In the background of a room is a young 
woman under strong light from a window, left. Through a half 
open door behind her a bed is seen. In front of the woman is 
a cradle with a sleeping child; to the right are a small stove, 
kitchen utensils on shelves, various vegetables and a cock in a 
coop. In the foreground, which is in shadow, an elderly woman 
is cooking at the fireplace, left, having pots and pans around her. 

Signed: " J. v. der M." 

Canvas, 14V2 inches by iq!^ inches. 

Sale: C. Triepel, Munich, 1874. 

An Old Woman with a Reel. She sits nearly in profile and 
at full length, being almost of life size. Her hands are in her 
lap. To the right is a reel. A small object on the wall has the 
form of a monogram of Vermeer: " J. v. M." (the letters in- 

Canvas, 5 2 inches by 44 inches. 

Ascribed by Philipps, Eastlake, Thore and Waagen to Ver- 
meer of Delft. Offered to the National Gallery, London, in 
the period of M. Thore's activities for £157 10 s., but de- 
clined. It later was for some time in the latter 's possession and 
then in an English dealer's. Where it may be at present is un- 

A Woman faring Turnips. A woman pares turnips while on 
the other side of the room a man reads by the fire. Near the 
woman is a cradle with child in it. 

Panel, 2 3 l A inches by 1 9 Vi inches. 

Sale: J. A. Brentano, Amsterdam, 1822. 

A Woman Skinning an Eel. A young woman, at half length, 
sits, her head to the left, apparently conversing with an unseen 
person. She wears a cap and, under a purple jacket a red bodice. 
In her lap are a dish and napkin. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 225 

Signed with the Vermeer monogram. 
Canvas on panel, 1 2 inches by 8 Vi inches. 
Sale: Neville D. Goldsmid, Paris, 1876. 

A Lady with a Maid-Servant and a Page. 

28 inches by 25 inches. 

Sale: Maclean, London, 1903. 

An Interior with a Gentleman Washing His Hands, with a 
Vista and Figures. 

Sale: Amsterdam, May 16, 1696. 

This has the sound of a capital subject for Vermeer. It is re- 
called that Terborch did A Lady Washing Her Hands, one of 
his most delightful works. 

A Woman Combing Her Hair. 
1 5 inches by 1 3 inches. 

Sale: Pieter de Klok — not Blok, as per M. Thore — Amster- 
dam, 1744. 

A Woman Washing a Boy's Head in a Room. 

Sale: H. van der Heuvel and J. Hackefort, Rotterdam, 18 16. 

A Domestic Scene. 
Sale: Rotterdam, 1820. 

A Domestic Scene. Three figures, interior. Possibly identical 
with the foregoing. 
Sale: Rotterdam, 1832. 

A Man Playing Music, with a Lady in an Interior. 
Sale: Amsterdam, 1696. 

A Lady at the Spinet with a Gentleman. Both are playing. 
Through an open window are seen houses. 
Canvas, 3 2 inches by 2 5 Vi inches. 
Sale: J. J. de J. J. de Faesch, Amsterdam, 1833. 

226 Vermeer 

The Concert. 

1 5 inches by 1 1 54 inches. 

Sale: London, iqoi. 

The Love Letter. A page hands a letter to a lady. 

Panel, 1 5 Vz inches by 1 2 Vi inches. 

Sale: Hope Edwardes and others, London, 1901. 

A Lady Writing. Writing at a table on which are a casket 
and writing materials sits a lady in yellow jacket trimmed with 
fur, facing the spectator. 

Canvas, 1SV2 inches by 14 inches. 

Sales: (probably) Amsterdam, 1696; Dr. Luchtmans, Rot- 
terdam, 1 816; (probably) J. Kamermans, Rotterdam, 1825; 
H. Reydon and others, Amsterdam, 1827; Comte F. de Robi- 
ano, Brussels, 1837. Possibly No. 35 in the 1696 catalogue; per- 
haps the Lady Writing, J. P. Morgan Collection. 

A Merry Company in a Room. Possibly The Courtesan, 

Sale: Amsterdam, 1696. 

A Girl and a Cavalier. A young man courts a young woman 
who holds a wine glass. A table with various objects stands to 
the left. 

Panel, 1 2 inches by 9 Vi inches. 

Sale: Dr. Luchtmans, Rotterdam, 18 16. 

A Trooper and a Girl. Holding a half-clad girl on his knee 
a trooper sits in an open hall. Before him is a Cupid to which the 
girl beckons. On the floor are trophies of war: standards, 
trumpets and so on. To the right is a view into the landscape. 

Panel, 16 inches by 20% inches. 

Sale: Von Woyna and others, Bonn, 1898. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 227 

A Country Fair. 

Sale: J. Kamermans, Rotterdam, 1825. 

Head of a Person in Antique Costume. Pendant to the Aren- 
berg Fortran of a Young Girl. Possibly The Smiling Girl, Mel- 
lon Collection. 

Sale: Amsterdam, 1696. 

Portrait of a Young Lady. Half length. She has a red gown 
with broad white sleeves, and a wide felt hat with plumes, be- 
neath which brown curls are seen. 

Panel, 29 inches by 22 Vi inches. 

Sale: Neven, Cologne, 1879. 

Portrait of Vermeer. In an interior with accessories. 
Sale: Amsterdam, 1696. Probably the painting in the Czernin 
Collection, Vienna. 

Portrait of a Young Man. Nearly half length. He wears a 
red plush hat, broad-brimmed, and a blue cloak. The left cheek 
is in strong light, the hat brim casting a deep shadow on the 
upper part of the face. 

Panel, 9 inches by 7 inches. 

Sale: Lafontaine, Paris, 1822. 

A View of Some Houses. Presumably smaller than, or of 
quality inferior to, the Little Street in Delft, since it fetched a 
lower price. 

Sale: Amsterdam, 1696. 

The Oude Gracht in Haarlem near Klein Heiligland. Coun- 
trymen and their wives are en route in a boat to celebrate 
" Hartjesdag " on the dunes. 

This work, according to the sale catalogue, bore the signa- 

228 Vermeer 

ture — probably added — of Berck-Heyde, but according to 
the general opinion was the work of Vermeer. 

Panel, 1 8 inches by 1 5 Vi inches. 

Sale: G. van der Pals, Rotterdam, 1 824. 

View of a Street in Delft. 

Panel, 14 inches by 9 inches. 

Sale: Abraham de Haas, Amsterdam, 1824. 

A Landscape with Trees. 
Sale: Amsterdam, 1825. 

Part of a Town, with a View into an Entry. 


Sale: Amsterdam, 1825. 

The Back of a House with a Courtyard. 


Sales: Amsterdam, 1828; Amsterdam, 1830. 

Two Pictures of Streets with Figures. 
Panel, 14 inches by 9 inches each. 

Sales: D. Teengs, Amsterdam, 181 1; J. J. de J. J. de Faesch, 
Amsterdam, 1833. 

Scene in a Courtyard. Two boys play in the straw in the 
courtyard of a brick house. Standing in a doorway a woman 
looks on. To the right, down a passage, is seen a street. 

Panel, 18 inches by 14 inches. 

Sale: A. W. C. Baron van Nagell van Ampsen, The Hague, 

A Picture of a Street. A view in a town of picturesque houses. 
Four figures. The dimensions recall the views of towns by 
J. Vrel. 

Panel, 1 5 inches by 1 o inches. 

The Works of Jan Vermeer of Delft 229 

Sales: H. Reydon and others, Amsterdam, 1827; A. W. C. 
Baron van Nagell van Ampsen, The Hague, 1 85 1 . 

A Violent Storm at Sea. A shipwreck, with many figures. 

Panel, 20 inches by 16 inches. 

Collection of von Krane-Matena, Darmstadt, 1863. It is hard 
to conceive of a subject less likely to have been chosen by Ver- 
meer, or more unfitted to his talent. 

A Public Place at The Hague. In the square are lime trees 
and a pump. Houses, of varied architecture with picturesque 
angles, are in the background, right. In the foreground, in full 
light, is a knife grinder, in profile, engaged in conversation with 
an old woman, wearing a grey felt hat, who leans on a stick and 
holds a bottle in her right hand. Behind them a young woman 
waits with folded arms for the grinder to sharpen her knife. 
She seems to listen absently to compliments paid her by a gal- 
lant. A huntsman and dog cross the square, and other figures 
are discerned, going in various directions. Two white horses 
are drawing a cart forward. 

52 inches by 77 inches. 

Sale: Demidoff, San Donato, near Florence, 1880. 

The painting seems unlikely to have been by Vermeer, since 
no other picture of such subject has been authenticated as from 
his hand. 



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Facsimile of Double-page from the Masterbook of the Guild 
of St. Luke, Delft 



n the text of this volume, many of the books and magazine 
articles listed below have been given specific mention, as occasion 
has arisen. Instead of a situation in which, decade after decade, 
hardly anyone wrote a line concerning Jan Vermeer of Delft, 
there have come into existence in the past half-century, and es- 
pecially in the past quarter-century, an ever-increasing number and 
variety of books and magazine articles on Vermeer, important and 
unimportant. Many of these are given below. 


Alexandre, Arsene. Histoire Populaire de la Peinture: ecoles 
flamande et hollandaise. Paris, 1894. 

Baker, C. H. Collins. Dutch Painting of the Seventeenth Century. 
London, 1926. 

Berckenhoff, H. L. Notre Art, in Pays-Bas. Published by the 
Cercle des Journalistes Neerlandais. Amsterdam, 1898. 

Blanc, C. Histoire des peintres de toutes les ecoles: ecole hollan- 
daise. Paris, 1863. 

Bleyswijck, Dirk Evertsz Van. Beschrijving der Stad Delft. 
Delft, Arnold Bon, 1667. 

Bode, Wilhelm Von. Great Masters of Dutch and Flemish Paint- 
ing. London and New York, 1909. 
Studien zur Geschichte der hollandischen Malerei. Brunswick, 

Rembrandt und seine Zeitgenossen. Leipsic, 1907. 

Boymans Museum. Catalogue of Dutch Paintings. Rotterdam, 


Bredius, Dr. A. Les Chefs-d'oeuvre du Musee royal d' Amsterdam. 
Translation of E. Michel. Munich, Hanfstaengl; Paris, Li- 
brairie de l'Art. 
Die Meisteriverke der Koniglichen Gemaldegalerie in Haag. 
Munich, Hanfstaengl. 

232 Bibliography 

Amsterdam in de zeventiende eewvo. By various writers. The 

Hague, 1897. (Chapter on Painting.) 
Peintures du Musee de VEtat a Amsterdam. 1897. 
Catalogue du Musee de La Haye. 
Les Chefs-d'Oeuvre du Musee d : Amsterdam. Munich, 1890. 

Bryan. Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. New York, 1903. 

Burger, W. (Thore) . Les Musees de Hollande. Paris, Renouard, 
La Galerie d'Arenberg. Brussels, 1869. 
Catalogue de la Galerie Suermondt. i860. 

Catalogues of Museums: Amsterdam, The Rijks Museum; Ber- 
lin; Brunswick; Buda-Pesth; Dresden; Frankfort; The Hague, 
the Mauritshuis; London, the National Gallery; the Metro- 
politan Museum; the Louvre; Rotterdam, Boymans Museum; 
and various other public and private collections. 

Chaffers, William. Marks and Monograms on Pottery and Por- 
celain. Edited by Frederick Litchfield. London and New 
York, 191 2. 

Chantavoine, Jean. Ver Meer de Delft. Paris, Laurens, 1926. 

Chaumelin. Tresors de VArt de la Provence. Paris, 1862. 

Cust, Lionel. The Royal Collection of Paintings. Vol. II. 1906. 

Desguerrois. Musee royal de La Haye. Amsterdam, 1833. 

Dobell, Clifford, F.R.S. Antony van Leeutvenhoek and His 
"Little Animals." London and New York, 1932. 

Dreyfous, Georges. Uoeuvre de Jan Vermeer de Delft, dit van der 
Meer de Delft 1632-1675. Paris, H. Floury. 

Ducamp. En Hollande. Paris, 1859. 

Dutch Art, 145 0-1900, Catalogue of the Exhibition of Royal 
Academy, Burlington House, London, 1929. 

Eberlein. Catalogue of the Brunswick Museum. 1776. 

Eynden, R. van, et A. van Willingen. Geschiednis der Vader- 
landsche Schilderkunst. Haarlem, 1 8 1 6. 

Fell, H. Granville. Vermeer. London and Edinburgh, 1933. 

Friedlander, Max. Die Niederlandischen Maler des ij. Jahr- 
hunderts. Berlin, Propylaen Verlag, 1923. 

Fromentin. Les Maitres d? autrefois: Belgique-Holland. Paris, 

Bibliography 233 

Gault de Saint-Germain. Guides des Amateurs: Ecoles alle- 
mandes, flamandes, hollandaises. Paris, 18 18. 

Geffroy, G. Les Musees d'Europe: he Louvre. La National Gal- 
lery. La Hollande. La Belgique. Paris, Librairie Nilsson, 1902- 

Gool, Jan van. (De) Niewwe Schouburg der nederlantsche Kunst- 
schilders en schilderessen. 2 vols. 'S Gravenhage, 1750-51. 

Gower, Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland. Handbook to the 
Art Galleries, Public and Private, of Belgium and Holland. 
London, 1875. 
The Figure Painters of Holland. London, 1880. 

Grafton Galleries, Catalogue of Exhibition of Fair Women, 

Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions. Royal Acad- 
emy Winter Exhibition Catalogue, 1892. 

Groot, Dr. Cornelis Hofstede de. Jan Vermeer van Delft en 
Car el Fabritius. Amsterdam, Scheltema and Holkema, 1907. 
With large plates reproducing all the pictures of the catalogue. 
Supplement, 1930. 
A Catalogue raisonne of the works of the most eminent Dutch 
Painters of the Seventeenth Century: based on the work of 
John Smith, by C. Hofstede de Groot, with the assistance of 
Dr. W. R. Valentiner. Translated and edited by Edward G. 
Hawke. In eight volumes. (Volume I contains Vermeer.) 
Macmillan and Co., London, 1907-1927. 

Hale, Philip L. Jan Vermeer of Delft. Boston, Small, Maynard 
& Company, 191 3. 

Hare, Augustus J. C. Sketches in Holland and Scandinavia. Lon- 
don, 1885. 

Hausenstein, Wilhelm, and Benno Reiffenberg. Vermeer van 
Delft. Vol. X of Das Bild: Atlanten zur Kunst. Munich, R. 
Piper & Co., 1924. 

Havard, Henri. UArt et les Artistes hollandais. Paris, Quantin, 
La Peinture hollandais. Paris, Quantin, 1880. 
Van der Meer de Delft. Collection des artistes celebres. Paris, 

234 Bibliography 

Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen. 2 vols. 
The Hague, 1752. 

Holman, Louis A. Old Maps and Their Makers. Boston, 1926. 

Houbraken, Arnold. De groote Schouburg der Neerlandsche 
Konsts child 'ers. Amsterdam, 17 19. 

Huneker, James. Ivory, Apes and Peacocks. New York, 19 15. 

Immerzeel. Hollandsche en Vlaamsche Kunstenaars. Vol. III. 
Amsterdam, Van Kesteren, 1843. 

Kasteren. La Collection de Mme. Veuve Van der Hoop. Amster- 
dam, 1 86 1. 

Kramm. De Levens en Werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche 
Kunstchilders, Beeld Houwers, Graveurs en Bouwme esters. 
Amsterdam, 1858. 

Kugler, F. T. Handbook of Painting: The German, Flemish, and 
Dutch Schools. Revised by J. A. Crowe. London, 1874. 

Lafenestre et Richtenberger. La Pemture en Europe. Le 
Louvre. La Hollande. La Belgique. Paris, L. H. May, 1895— 

Lagrange. La Collection Dufour a Marseille. Gazette des Beaux- 
Arts, 1859. 

Lebrun. Galerie des Peintres flamands, hollandais et allemands. 
Paris, 1796. 

Lemke. Populare Asthetik. Leipsic, A. Seemann, 1870. 

Lucas, E. V. New Lamps for Old. London and New York, 1908. 
Venneer of Delft. London, 1922. 
Vermeer the Magical. London, 1929. 

Mantz. La Collection Dumont. Gazette des Beaux- Arts, i860. 

Maruis, G. H. (Les) ozuvres de Vermeer de Delft dans les collec- 
tions et les musees hollandais, in (L') art flamand et hollandais. 
Vol.X. 1908. 

Mather, Frank Jewett. Estimates in Art. New York. Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 19 16. 

Monconys, Balthasar de. Journal des Voyages. Lyons, 1676; 
Paris, 1678. 

Montegut. Les Pays-Bas, Paris, 1884. 

Obreen, F. D. O. Archief voor Nederlandsche Kunstgeschiedenis. 
Rotterdam, 1882. 

Bibliography 235 

Peltzer, Alfred. JJber Malweise und Stil in der hollandischen 

Kunst. Heidelberg, 1903. 
Philippi, K. Die Bliite der Malerei in Holland. Leipsic, 1901. 
Plietzsch, Eduard. Vermeer van Delft. Leipsic, 191 1. 
Preyer, David C. The Art of the Netherlands. London and Boston, 

Preyer, David C, and Dorothy Adlow. Art of the Metropolitan 

Museum of New York. Boston, 1932. 
Rice, William Gorham. Carillon Music and Singing Towers of 

the Old World and the New. New York, 1930. 
Roh, Franz. Hollandische Malerei. Jena, 192 1. 
Smith, John. Catalogue raisonne of the Works of the most e?ninent 

Dutch, Flemish and French painters. In nine volumes. London, 

Smith and Sons, 18 39- 1842. 
Smith, S. C. Kaines. The Dutch School of Painting. London, 1930. 
Stuers, de. Notice historique et descriptive des tableaux exposes 

dans le Musee royal de La Haye. The Hague, Nijhoff, 1874. 
Thieme-Becker. Kiinstler Lexikon. Edited by Hans Vollmer. 

Leipsic, 1926. 
Thore. See Burger. 
Tietze-Conrat, E. Die Delft er Malerschule. In Seemanrts Biblio- 

thek der Kunstgeschichte. Leipsic, 1923. 
Valentiner, W. R. Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener 

at Lynnewood Hall. Philadelphia, 193 1. 
Pieter de Hooch (in Klassiker der Kunst). New York, E. 

Weyhe, 1930. 
Catalogue of the Hudson-Fulton Exhibition. New York, 1909. 
Van Dyke, John C. Old Dutch and Flemish Masters. New York, 

Vanzype, Gustave. Vermeer de Delft. G. Van Oest and Company. 

Brussels, 1908. Revised and enlarged, 192 1. 
Vermeer of Delft. With 16 colour plates. Boston, Hale, Cushman 

& Flint; London, The Medici Society, Ltd., 1930. 
Vermeer van Delft, Johannes. With eight colour plates. Leipsic, 

Veth, Jan. 1m Schatten alter Kunst. Berlin, 19 10. 
Viardot. Musees de V Allemagne . Paris, i860. 
Villot. Catalogue du Musee du Louvre. 1852. 

236 Bibliography 

Waagen. Manuel de Vhistoire de la Peinture. Traduction Hymans. 

Bruxelles-Paris, 1864. 
Wauters, A. J. Catalogue historique et descriptif des tableaux 

anciens du Musee de Bruxelles. 3 me Edition. Brussels, Van 

Oest and Co., 1907. 
Wedmore, Frederick. The Masters of Genre Painting. London, 

Wichmann, Heinrich. Leonaert Bramer, Sein Leben und Seine 

Kunst. Leipsic, 1923. 
Wilenski, R. H. An Introduction to Dutch Art. London and New- 
York, 1929. 
Woltmann, Alfred, und Karl Woermann. Geschichte der 

Malerei. Leipsic, A. Seemann, 1888. 
Wyzewa, T. de. Les Grandes peintres des Flandres et de la Hol- 

lande. Paris, 1890. 

Magazine Articles 

Alexandre, Arsene. "Van der Meer." UArt et les Artistes, 
Paris, October, 1906. 

Bredius, Dr. A. "Ein Psuedo Vermeer in der Galerie." Kunst- 
chronik, Leipsic, 16 November, 1882. 
" The Vermeer of the De Grez Collection." Kunstchronik, Leip- 
sic, May, 1906. 
Articles in Oud-Holland, Amsterdam. 

Burger (Thore), W. "Vermeer de Delft." Gazette des Beaux- 
Arts, Paris, 1866. 

Caffin, Charles H. " Pearl Necklace by Jan van der Meer." Cen- 
tury, New York, February, 19 16. 

Coffin, William A. " Artist Who Reached Perfection." Ladies' 
Home Journal, Philadelphia, February, 1917. 

Frimmel, Th. von. Blatter fur Gemaldekunde, April, 1906. 

Gautier, Th. Moniteur, Paris, June, 1858. 

Havard, H. "Johannes Vermeer (van der Meer) de Delft." 
Gazette des Beaux- Arts, Paris, 1882-3. 

Illustrated London News: June 3, 1922. 

January 12, 1935. 
April 20, 1935. 

Bibliography 237 

Lloyd, David. " Vermeers in America." International Studio, New 
York, November, 1925. 

Lucas, E. V. " The White Magic of Vermeer." Arts and Decora- 
tion, New York, June, 1922, and " The Most Beautiful Thing 
in Holland," Ladies' Home Journal, Philadelphia, September, 

Magazines. Many articles by important authorities, on exhibitions 
and individual paintings, in American Magazine of Art, Apollo, 
Art Digest, Art in America, Art News, Burlington Magazine, 
Connoisseur, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, International Studio, 
Oud-Holland, Pantheon, Parnassus. 

Martin, W. " La jeune fille a la Flute de Vermeer de Delft." UArt 
Flamand et Hollandais, Antwerp, July, 1906. 
Articles in Oud-Holland, New Series, Amsterdam. 

Masters in Art. " Vermeer of Delft," Boston, June, 1904. 

Mather, Jr., F. J. "Vermeer of Delft." Nation, August 13-20, 

Morris, Harrison S. " Vermeer, the Truth-Teller of Art." Ladies' 1 
Home Journal, Philadelphia, June, 19 15. 

Wauters, A. J. " Vermeer in the Museum at Brussels." Burlington 
Magazine, London, December, 1905; Art Moderne, Brussels, 
January, 1906. 


Adlow, Dorothy, 234 

Agnew, Messrs., dealers, 147 

Agnew, Sir William, 148 

Aichholz, Miller von, 158 

Aix-la-Chapelle, 51 

Albertina Museum, Vienna, 215 

Alexandre, Arsene, 230, 235 

Allegory of the New Testament, Met- 
ropolitan Museum, 29, 75; described, 
1 15-7. See Plate 13 

Alphen, P. de Smeth van, sale, 120 

Altman, Benjamin, 112 

Altman Collection, 99 

American Art Association, 150 

Ampsen, Baron van Nagell van, 185, 
228, 229 

Amsterdam, 8, 10, 26, 27, 29, 31, 35, 42, 
48, 51, 81, 97, 100, 103, 105, 115, 116, 
118, 120, 123, 127, 134, 139, 141, 145, 
146, 148, 155, 159, 168, 174, 175, 176, 

177, 178, 179, 180, 185, 187, 198, 211, 
212, 213, 214, 215, 221, 222, 223, 224, 
225, 226, 227, 228, 230, 231, 232, 233, 

2 35> 2 3<5 
Amsterdam, the anonymous sale of pic- 
tures at, in 1696, 116, 118, 122, 134, 140, 
146, 148, 153, 155, 157, 168, 173, 176, 

178, 179, 182, 188, 191, 211, 221 
Angiot Sale, 216 

Antwerp, 127, 236 

Apelles, 18 

Apollo, 215 

Apshoven, Ferdinand van, 55 

Archangel, 20 

Arenberg, Duke of, 182 

Arenberg Gallery, Brussels, 51, 101, 173, 

Armstrong College, 176 
Art Bulletin, The, 57 
Art in America, 206 
Art News, The, 127 
"Art of the Netherlands Galleries, 

The " (Preyer), 49 
" Art Treasures and Intrigue " (Du- 

veen), 153, 192 
Ashley, Evelyn, 147 

Asselijn, Jan, 22 

Assendelft, Gerard van, notary, 26, 34 

Assendelft, Nicolaes van, alderman of 
Delft, 40, 42 

Astronomer, The, Rothschild Collec- 
tion, 159; described, 186-7; l 9%- See 
Plate 45 

Astronomer, The, Stadel Art Institute, 
105, 128; described, 197-200. See 
Plate 49 

Atthalin, General the Baron, 133 

Atthalin, Laurent, 133 

At the Art Dealer's, m 

Baburen, Dirck van, 119, 139, 156, 165 

Bache, Jules S., 131 

Back of a House with a Courtyard, The, 

Backhuysen, Ludolph, 22 

Baker, C. H. Collins, 230 

Balthasars, Dingnum (Dyna), mother 
of Jan Vermeer, 23; mention of her 
portrait, 28; her death, 33 

Batheaston, Somerset, England, 162 

Bavaria, Collection of the King of, 141 

Beesten Markt, Delft, 15 

Beestingh, A. van, 223 

Beit, Alfred, 159 

Beit Collection, 101, 158, 159, 186, 189 

Beit, Lady, 159 

Beit, Sir Otto, 159 

Belle, Josua van, sale, 124, 158 

Bemmel, Willem van, of Utrecht, 22 

Berchtold, Count, 214 

Berckenhoff, H. L., 230 

Berck-Heyde, 228 

Berghem, Nicolaas, 22 

Berlin, 52, 73, 76, 81, 99, 101, 105, 114, 
116, 124, 134, 135, 136, 139, 140, 142, 
175, 184, 187, 189, 191, 201, 208, 213, 
218, 231 

Berri, Duchesse de, sale, 124 

Bie, Pieter de, attorney, 40, 41, 44; as 
" Heer " and " Mr." represents Jan 
Vermeer's children in renting prop- 
erty, 45 



Birmingham, England, 209 

Bischoffsheim, Henry L., 148 

Blaeu, Cornelis, 123 

Blaeu, Jan, 123 

Blaeu, Willem Janszoon, 123 

Blanc, C, 230 

Bleeck, Pieter van, money lender, 44 

Bleiswijck, Franco van, 158 

Bleiswyck, Cornelis Pietersz, notary, 27 

Bleyswijck, Dirk van, author, 19, 47, 231 

Bloemaert, Abraham, of Gorcum, 21 

Blok, 225 

Blokhuyzen, D. Vis, 185 

Bode, Dr. Wilhelm von, 134, 136, 139, 

207, 212, 230 
Boerepas (" Bonrepas " or " Bon-re- 

pos"), 44, 45, 46 
Bogaerd, Johan, attorney, 41 
Bogaerd, van den, 141 
Bois-le-Duc, 143 

Bolnes (Bolenes or Bolnits), Catharina, 
wife of Jan Vermeer, 24, 25, 26, 29, 
30; financial difficulties of, 34; peti- 
tions for writ of insolvency, 34; dis- 
poses of her husband's paintings, 35- 
38; petitions for cessation of pay- 
ments to her creditors, 40; troubles 
concerning 26 paintings of her hus- 
band's estate, 42-43; sale of her prop- 
erty at Gouda, 43-44; record of land 
ownership, 46 
Bolnes, Jan, 43 
Bolnes, Reinier, 39 

Bolnes (Bolenes and Bollenes), Willem, 
brother-in-law of Jan Vermeer, 27; 
settlement of his estate, 41, 43, 44, 45, 
46, 158, 202 
Bon, Arnold, poet and publisher, 47, 
166; his " Beschrijving der Stad 
Delft" published in 1667, 47; 58 
" Bon-repos." See Boerepas 
Boogaert, Andries, notary, 31 
Boogert (Bogert), F., notary, 26, 31 
Boogert, J., notary, 44 
Borenius, Dr. Tancred, 162, 164, 167 
Bosch, Ad. Joseph, 198 
Boss, Dr. Hermann, 136 
Boston, 53, 123, 136, 232, 233, 234, 236 
Both, Jan, of Utrecht, 22 
Bottenwiesser, dealer, 139 
Bourdon, Sebastien, 132 
Bourgeois Freres, dealers, 107 
Bouricius, L. G. N., 31, 32, 181 

Boursse, Esias, 112, 217 

Boy Blowing Soap Bubbles, A 

(Boursse), 218 
Boyle, Henry, 108 
Boyle, Robert, 38 
Boymans Museum, Rotterdam, 139, 163, 

209; catalogue of, 230; 231 
Boy with Dogs (Palamedes), 172 
Boy with Pomegranates (de Hooch), 

184. See Plate 43 
Boxtel en Liempde, Jan Mahie van, 143 
Boxtel en Liempde, Mahie van, 143 
Brais, de, 196 
Bramer, Leonard, painter, possibly 

teacher of Jan Vermeer, 32, 61-2, 103, 

119, 165, 166, 172, 235 
Brammer (Bramer), Pieter, 23, 61, 165 
Brazil, 20 
Bredius, Dr. A., 28, 29, 116, 143 n., 183, 

184, 205, 213, 230, 235 
Bries, Philips de, attorney, 41, 42 
Bristol, 120, 160, 161, 164 
British Museum, 167 
British Royal Society, 36 
Broadlands, 147 
Brondegeest, 120 
Brouwer, 49 
Bruecke, 86 

Brunswick, 99, 135, 190, 191, 192, 230 
Brussels, 52, 101, 105, 118, 127, 134, 143, 

145, 148, 149, 182, 183, 184, 212, 217, 

226, 231, 234, 235, 236 
Brutus (Michelangelo), 201 
Bruyn, Cornelis de, 22 
Bruyn, G. W. Oosten de, 179 
Bruyn, J. J. de, sale, 176 
Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and En- 
gravers, 53, 165, 217, 231 
Buckingham Palace, 73, 99, 152 
Buda-Pesth, 64, 161, 184 
Buda-Pesth, Museum of Fine Arts, 160, 

204, 205 
Buitenketelpoort, entrance to Delft, 31 
Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum, 

Burch, Hendrik van der, 209, 218 
" Burger, W.", pseudonym of Theophile 

Thore, 51, 231, 235 
Burgerlijke Stand, the civic archives of 

Delft, 52 
Burlington Magazine, 48, 141, 148, 149, 

151, 162, 164, 167, 183, 209, 210, 213, 



Buyten, Hendrick van, baker at Delft, 

Caffin, Charles H., 235 

Cambrai, 198 

Caraman, Marquis de, 141 

Caravaggio, 67, 165, 220 

Caravaggist, 210 

Cardon, 183 

Card Players, 216 

" Carillon Music and Singing Towers 
of the Old World and the New " 
(Rice), 11 

Carruthers, Charles E., 162 

Carter, A. C. R., 147, 148 

Carter, Morris, 137 

Casanova, 194 

Casimir-Perier, 141 

Casimir-Perier, fils, 141 

Castlereagh, Lord (Marquis of London- 
derry), no 

"Catalogue of Dutch Painters" (de 
Groot), 141, 191 

" Catalogue of 300 Paintings " (Sedel- 
meyer), 157, 158 

" Catalogue Raisonne of the Works of 
the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish 
and French Painters" (Smith), 49 

" Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schil- 
deryen " (Hoet), record of the 
anonymous sale of 1696 at Amster- 
dam, 97; comment on the paintings 
of, 102; 116, 126, 127, 155, 174 

Caudri, J., sale, 188 

Cavallino, Bernado, 164, 165, 166 

Cellini, 74 

Century Magazine, 235 

Chaffers, William, 231 

Chantavoine, Jean, 231 

Charles II, 36 

Charlton Lectures on Art, 177 

Chatillon, Count of, 45 

Chaumelin, 231 

Chiaroscuro (clair-obscur) , 63, 179, 183, 

Chinese porcelains, 85 n. 

Christie's, auction room, 137, 187 

Christ in the House of Mary and 
Martha, National Gallery of Scot- 
land, 21, 105, 113; described, 163-7; 
171, 208, 209. See Plate 38 

Christ's Mother, 29 

Clrristus aent Cruys {.Crucifixion), 

painting in Jan Vermeer's house, 29, 
30, 57, 115, 119 

Cincinnati, 139 

Clave-Bouhaben, sale, 223 

Clausen, Sir George, R. A., 177 

Coats, W. A., 164 

Coders, 148 

Coesveld, Hendrik Ter Beecq van, no- 
tary, 41, 44 

Coffin, William A., 235 

Colevelt, notary, 46 

College Art Association, 57 

Colmar, 133 

Colnaghi, P. and D., and Obach, dealers, 
141, 189 

Cologne, 52, 222, 223, 227 

Columbier (Coelenbier and Coelem- 
bier) Joh. (Jan and Johannes), 
painter and art dealer, of Haarlem, 

4 2 > 57. 97 

Concert, The, 226 

Concert, The, Gardner Museum, de- 
scribed, 136-9; 165. See Plate 25 

Concert with Four Persons (de 
Hooch), 217 

Connoisseur, The, 207, 209, 210 

Cooghen, Leendert van der, 220 

Cook, The. See A Maid-Servant Pour- 
ing Milk 

Cook, E. T., 219 

Coorvaar, Aart, 46 

Coquette, The, Ducal Gallery, Bruns- 
wick, 75, 99, 105, 135, 189; described, 
190-2. See Plate 47 

Correggio, 66 

Cortissoz, Royal, 150 

Corton, see Kerton 

Country House (Laan), 218 

Courbet, Gustave, 4 

Courtesan, The, State Picture Gallery, 
Dresden, 63, 68, 72, 73, 99, 105, 113, 
129, 166; described, 193-4; 22 °- $ ee 
Plate 48 

Cowper-Temple, Rt. Hon. W., 144, 

Cox, Kenyon, 74 
Cremer, J. H. C, 145, 148, 149 
Crevcdon, Henry, 188 
Croese, H, sale, 120 
Crowe, J. A., 51, 233 
Cruick, Gijsbrecht, 24 
Cupid, in, 120 
Cust, Lionel, 231 

2 4 2 


Cuyp, Albert, 22, 108 
Czernin, Count, collection of, Vienna, 
178, 200, 201, 216, 227 

D alton, Richard, 153 

Darmstadt, 229 

Davis, Frank, 162 

De Amsterdammer Weekblad voor 
Nederland, illustrated journal, 212 

Dealer in Musical Instruments, The 
(Fabritius), 58 

Death of St. Joseph, The (Cavallino), 
164, 167. See Plate 39 

Decker, Simon, sexton at Delft, 160, 161 

Decoen, Jean, 48, 210 

Degas, Edgar, 76 

" De Groote Schouburgh der Neder- 
landsche Konstschilders " (Houbra- 
ken) , 48 

Delft, 1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 
24, 26, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 
40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 52, 55, 
58, 60, 62, 79, 83, 85, 97, 100, 102, 103, 
108, in, 126, 127, 130, 132, 144, 158, 
160, 170, 171, 172, 174, 180, 181, 183, 
189, 198, 201, 203, 211, 212, 215, 216, 
217, 224, 230 

Delft and the Background of Vermeer's 
Art, 10 et seq.; contemporary map of 
1667, 15; population in seventeenth 
century, 23; depiction of the great 
explosion of 1654, 59; view of the 
Hague gate, 61 

Delft Courant, present-day newspaper, 

Delftshaven, 11 
Delft ware, 85 
Demidoff Collection, Pratolino, near 

Florence, 122, 198, 229 
Desguerrois, 231 
Deterding, Sir Henri, 180 
Detroit Institute of Arts, 130, 140, 151 
Diana and Her Nymphs, 220 
Diana, The Toilette of, Mauritshuis, 49, 

72, 75, 113; described, 171-2; 208. See 

Plate 40 
Dickson, T. H., 208 
Dickson, Walter, 208 
Dissius, Jacobus Abramse, printer and 

publisher, 97 
Dobell, Dr. Clifford, F. R. S., biogra- 
pher of Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, 

35, 180, 198, 199, 231 

Domestic Scene, A, 225 

Dordrecht, 22 

Dou, Gerard, 22, 47, 49, 55 

Double, Leopold, 122 

Dresden, 81, 105, 109, 131, 138, 142, 175, 

Dresden, State Picture Gallery, 52, 193, 

194. 195 
Dreyfous, Georges, 231 
Drost, 49 
Drunken Maid-Servant Asleep behind a 

Table, A, 99, 112 
Dublin, 108 
Ducal Gallery of Paintings, Brunswick, 

Ducamp, 231 
Dufour, 124 
Dujardin, 209 
Dumont Collection, 198 
Duncton Casde, 209 
Diirer, Albrecht, 54 
Durham, University of, 176 
Dusart, Cornelis, 22 
Dutch Institute for the History of Art, 

Dutch Interior with Soldiers (de 

Hooch), 81 
" Dutchmen," 20 
Duveen Brothers, dealers, 112, 124, 134, 

Duveen, James Henry, 8, 152, 192 
Duveen, Sir Joseph, Bart., 132, 160 
Dux, Bohemia, 194 

East India, Delft's trade with, 19 

East India House, Delft, 15 

Eastlake, Sir Charles, 52, 224 

Eberlein, 191, 231 

Edinburgh, 105, 163, 164 

Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. E. W., of Cin- 
cinnati, 139 

Eem, Hendrik van der, guardian of Jan 
Vermeer's minor children, 40, 43 

Elgin marbles, 73 

El Greco, 60 

Elkins Park, 140 

Elsevier, Louijs, 25 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 92 

Esterhazy Collection, Vienna, 205 

Evelyn John, diarist, 19 

Everdingen, Allaert van, 22, 189 

"Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1 450-1 900," 
London, catalogue of, 140, 183 



Eycks, the van, 92 
Eynden, R. van, 231 

Fabritius, Carel (originally called 
Carel Pietersz), painter of Delft and 
possibly teacher of Jan Vermeer, 12, 
29, 57; biography of, 58-61, 80, 84, 
85 n., 103, 161, 166, 167, 206, 208 
Faesch, J. J. de J. J., sale, 225, 228 
"Fair Women Exhibition," London, 

Family Group (Czernin Collection), 

Family Group, A (Sweerts or Coogh- 

en), 219. See Plate 53 
Family in the Courtyard of a House 

(de Hooch), 216 
Fawkes, Major F. H., 209, 210 
Fell, H. Granville, 186, 213, 231, 267 
Fenway Court (Isabella Stewart Gard- 
ner Museum in the Fenway), Boston, 

Fijn, Frans Janse van der, 25 
Finding of Moses, The, 158, 186 
Flersheim, M., 219 
Flinck, Govaert, 196, 197 
Florence, 122, 229 
Flower Girl, The, 222 
Forbes and Paterson, dealers, 164 
Franckenstein, J. Goll van, 198 
Frankfort, 105, 126, 128, 170, 187 
Frankfort Art Association, 197, 198 
Frick Collection, 99, 100 
Frick, Henry Clay, 120, 122, 124 
Friedlander, Dr. Max J., 136, 140, 142 
Friedsam, Michael, u6 
Friesland, 217 
Frimmel, Th. von, 235 
Fromentin, 22, 174, 231 
Fry, Lewis, 120 
Fyt, Jan, 22 

Gagny, Blondel de, sale, 124 

Gardner Collection (Fenway Court), 

Gardner, Mrs. John Lowell (Isabella 
Stewart), 137 

Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 53, 108, 109, 
128, 157, 201, 235 

Geel, Joost (Justus) van, 50 

Gelder, Michel van, 169 

Gentleman and a Lady, A. See Girl In- 
terrupted with Her Music 

Gentleman and a Lady Eating Oysters, 

A (de Hooch), 221 
Geographer, The, Magnin Collection, 

described, 125-30; 187, 198. See Plate 

George III, 8, 153 
Gerard, Balthasar, 12 
Gibson Collection, 120 
Gimpel, Rene, dealer, 127, 130 
Gipsy Woman (Baburen), 19 
Girl and a Cavalier, A, 226 
Girl Asleep, A, Metropolitan Museum, 

105; described, m-13; 120. See Plate 

Girl Drinking with a Gentleman, A, 

Kaiser Friedrich Museum, described, 

189-90; 191. See Plate 46 
Girl Interrupted at Her Music, Frick 

Collection, described, 11 9-21. See 

Plate 15 
Girl Pouring Wine, 220 
Girl Reading a Letter, A, Dresden, 81, 

105, 138, 142, 175; described, 195-7. 

See Plate 10 
Girl with Bread. See A Maid-Servant 

Pouring Milk 
Girl with Mandolin. See A Lady Play- 
ing a Guitar 
Girl with the Cat, The, 212 
Girl with the Red Hat, The, Mellon 

Collection, described, 132. See Plate 

Girl with the Wine Glass. See The 

Gisignies, Vicomte du Bus de, 127 
Gobelins tapestry, 201 
Goldfinch (Fabritius), 60. See Plate 52 
Goldsmid, Neville de, sale, 171, 225 
Goldsmith's Shop, The, 222 
Gooden, Stephen, dealer, 148 
Gool, Jan van, 232 
Gorcum, 21 
Gouda, 23, 27, 42, 43 
Gouderach, near Gouda, 23 
Goudstikker, Messrs., dealers, 212, 213 
Goupil's Gallery, The Hague, 213 
Gower, Lord Ronald Charles Suther- 
land, 233 
Goya, 4 

Graaf, Reijnier de, 36 
Grafton Galleries, 148, 232 
Graves, Algernon, 232 
Grez, Jonkheer de, 143 



Grez, Mme. Maria de, 143 

Griffin Pottery, Delft, 15 

Groot, Dr. C. Hofstede de, 50, 98, 129, 
131, 136, 140, 141, 148, 155, 157, 183, 
184, 186, 191, 212, 214, 216, 221, 232 

Groote Markt (Great Market), Delft, 


"Groote Schouburg" (Houbraken), 

Grotius, Hugo, "scholar and states- 
man," 12, 14, 23, 38 

Gruyter, de, 145, 149, 185, 188 

Guiffrey, Jean, director of the Louvre, 

Guitar Player, The, Iveagh Bequest, 34; 
described, 147-52. See Plate 30 

Guitar Player, Johnson Collection. See 
A Lady Playing the Guitar 

Haagsche Poort (Hague Gate), Delft, 

Haarlem, 21, 42, 51, 97, 211, 213, 218, 231 

Haas, Abraham de, 228 

Haensbergen, Jan van, 22 

Hale, Philip L., 85, 232 

Hals, Franz, 65 

Hamburg Gallery, 213, 218 

Hanover Museum, 218 

Hare, Augustus J. C, 170 

Harpsichord Lesson, The (Steen), 138 

Harvey, discoverer of the circulation 
of the blood, 37 

Hausenstein, Wilhelm, 215, 232 

Havard, Henry, 52, 108, 148, 232, 235 

Havemeyer Collection, 216 

Head of a Person in Antique Costume, 

Head of a Young Boy, Bache Collec- 
tion, described, 131. See Plate 21 

Head of a Young Girl, Mauritshuis, 70, 
133, 134, 135, 157; described, 173-4; 
182. See Plate 4 

Head of a Young Man, Savory Collec- 
tion, described, 160-1. See Plates 35 
and 36 

Haensbergen, Jan van, 21 

Heem, Jan de, of Utrecht, 22 

Heidelberg, 234 

Heijndricxz, Jan, 23 

Helder, 12 

Hellerus, J., notary, 28 

Heist, Bartholomeus, van der, 22 

Hemony, Frans, 1 1 

Hemony, Pieter, 11 

Hendy, Philip, 137 

Hennus, M. F., 212 

Hensbeeck, Hendrick, of Gouda, 27 

Hensius, Anthony, 40 

Hermitage, Leningrad, 219 

Herrera, 60 

Hertz Collection, Hamburg, 213 

Hessel, Otto van, 46 

Heuvel, H. van der, and J. Hackefort, 
sale, 225 

Hillegom, Six van, 51 

Hind, A. M., 167 

Hippolytusbuurt, Delft, 181 

Hisperius, Elisabeth Catharina, daugh- 
ter of Jan Vermeer, 46 

Hobbema, 169 

HoefF, Adriaen van der, alderman of 
Delft, 40, 42 

Hoek, Jacob van, sale, 176 

Hoet, Gerard, 97, 102, 233 

Holbein, 102 

Holkema, 232 

Holland, 14, 10-20; home of many art- 
ists, 21; 22; Holland and West Fries- 
land, united nation of, 26 

Holman, Louis A., 123, 233 

Holmes, Sir Charles, 88 n., 167, 220, 221 

Holy Writ, 93 

Home for Old Men, Delft, 18 

Hondekoeter, Melchior d', 20, 22, 103, 

Honthorst, 5;, 165 

Hooch, Pieter de (Hooge), 4; his 
"View of Delft," 12, 11, 49, 50, 53, 
72, 81, 90, 112, 123, 179, 180, 184, 196, 
201, 203, 209, 216 

Hoogen Road, Delft, 39 

Hoogstraten, Samuel van, 29, 50, 57, 

Hook of Holland, 40, 45 

Hoop, van der, 175 

Hoorn, 223 

Hope diamond, 187 

Hope, Lord Francis Pelham Clinton, 

Hotel Druot, Paris, 137 

Houbolt, Edward, 30 

Houbraken, Arnold, 22; "gossiping 
Vasari of Holland," 48; 103, 161, 233 

Houck, Michael van den, 25 

Houven, Jan Gerritse van der, 25 

Hudson-Fulton Exposition, 234 


2 45 

Hudtwalker Collection, 218 
Hulst, Pieter van der, of Dordrecht, 22 
Hulswit, J., 221 
Huneker, James, 233 
Hunsbeecq, Hendrik Claesz., 41 
Huntington, Archer M., 114 
Huntington, Collis P., 114 
Huntsman's Rest, The (Louvre), 213 
Huysum, Jan van, 20, 22 

Iconologie of Uytbeeldinghe des Ver- 

stants, 117 
Illustrated London News, 161, 162, 235 
Imari ware, 85 n. 
Ininierzeel, 233 
Interior, An, 99, 100 
Interior of a Cloister (Vrel), 218 
Interior with a Gentleman Washing 

His Hands, An, 225 
Interior with Revellers, An, 99 
International Studio, 235 
" Introduction to Dutch Art " (Wilen- 

ski), 60, 174 
" Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway 

Court" (Carter), 137 
Iveagh Bequest, 145 

Iveagh Collection, 35, 99, 144, 150, 151 
Iveagh, Lord (Sir Edward Guinness), 

146, 147, 148 

" Jan Vermeer and Carel Fabrjtius " 

(de Groot), 129, 131, 132 
Jansens, C, 108 
Janssen, August, 143 
Jansz, Jan. Gildemeester, 187 
Jardin, Karel du, 22 
Jena, 234 

Jesuit missions, in Japan, 20 
Jetwaart, David, sale, 116 
Johnson Collection, Philadelphia, 12, 

98, 146, 149, 151 
Johnson, John G., 144, 145, 146, 148, 

Jonas, Edouard, 127, 128, 130 
Jongh, D. de, 223 
Jongh, Ludolph de, 213 
Jordaens, Jacob, 115 
Joseph, Mrs. Samuel S., 122 
"Journey in Holland" (Reynolds), 176 

Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, 52, 

101, 134, 135, 139, 187, 189, 218 
Kalf, Willem, 22, 142 

Kamerboek, Delft records, 42 

Kamermans, J., sale, 118, 226, 227 

Kann, Max, 198 

Kann, Rodolphe, 112 

Kasteren, 233 

Keijser, Aelbrecht, potter, 24, 85 n. 

Ken Wood House, Hampstead, Lon- 
don, 147 

Kerton (Corton), Jacob, 25 

Kesler, P. M., C. Apostool and others, 
sale, 223 

Ketel, Cornelis, 22 

Kingston-on-Thames, 208 

Kirby, Thomas A., 150 

Klassiker der Kunst, 209 

Kleinberger, Francis, dealer, 116, 150, 

Klok, Pieter de, 225 
Knight, C. A. Boughton, 209 
Knoedler & Co., dealers, 133, 143 
Koe Poort (Cattle Gate), Delft, 10 
Konody, P. S., 160, 208 
Kooy, Barend, 222 
Korin screens, 82 
Kramer, Johann, 45 
Kramm, 233 

Krane-Matena, von, 229 
Kronig, J. O., 209, 210 
Kruif, Paul de, 35, 36 
Kruyck, Gisbrecht, 25 
"Kugler's Handbook of Painting," 51, 

2 33 
Kums, Edouard, 127, 128 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 

Kunstistor Institut, Utrecht, 213 
Kunst Kronik, 143, 235 
Kunst und Kiinstler, 132 
Kurt Collection, 217 

Laan, Dirck Jan van der, 218 

Laar, Pieter van, 22 

Labouchere, 187 

Lace Maker, The, Louvre, 64, 70, 76, 

100, 105, 135, 136, 151, 177; described, 

184-5. $ ee Plate 44 
Lace Maker, The, Mellon Collection, 

described, 135-6. See Plate 24 
Lacroix, Madame, 155 
Ladies Home Journal, 235 
Lady Adorning Herself, A, 101 
Lady and a Gentleman at a Spinet, A. 

See The Music Lesson 



Lady and a Maid-Servant, A, Frick 
Collection, described, 123-5- $ ee 
Plate 18 

Lady at the Spinet with a Gentleman, 
A, 22s 

Lady Making Lace, A, 223 

Lady Playing a Spinet, A, 101 

Lady Playing the Guitar, A, 1696 sale, 

Lady Playing the Guitar, A, Johnson 
Collection, described, 144-6. See 
Plate 29 

Lady to whom a Maid-Servant is Bring- 
ing a Letter, A, 99 

Lady Washing Her Hands, A (Ter- 
borch), 225 

Lady with a Lute, A, Metropolitan 
Museum, described, 1 13—15. See 
Plate 12 

Lady with a Maid-Servant and a Page, 
A, 225 

Lady Writing, A, 101, 226 

Lady Writing, Morgan Collection, de- 
scribed, 1 18-19. $ ee Plate 14 

Laen, Cybrant van der, 24 

Laen, Jan Dirckse van der, 25 

LaFarge, John, 89 

Lafenstre, 233 

Lafontaine Collection, 133, 227 

Lairesse, Gerard de, 118 

Lambotte, Paul, 214 

Landscape with Trees, A, 228 

Lapeyriere, 175 

Largilliere, 118 

Las Meninas (Velazquez), 67 

Last judgment, The, 141 

Lawrie and Company, dealers, 120, 124, 


Le Brun, 49, 124, 127, 233 

Leembruggen, G., 214 

Leeuwenhoek, Anthony van, " first of 
the microbe hunters," 14, 23; admin- 
istrator of Jan Vermeer's estate, 35; 
brief biography of, 35-37; 41, 42, 43, 
128; may have lived in the house 
shown in Vermeer's Little Street in 
Delft, 1 80-1; possible portrayal in 
The Astronomer refuted, 198 

Leipsic, 233, 234, 235 

Lek, river, 46 

Lelarova, P. V., 214 

Lelie, J. A. A. de, and others, sale, 223 

Lemke, 233 

Lengliev, 124 

Leningrad, 214, 219 

Lennep, J. F. van, 178 

Leslie, Arthur, 164 

Leupe, P. A., archivist, 46 

Leyden, 21, 45, 56, 57, 222 

Leyden, Baroness van, 137 

Leyden Museum, 210 

Lip, Pieter van der, 174 

Literary Digest, 161 

Little Street in Delft, The, Rijks Mu- 
seum, Amsterdam, 10, 51, 105, 113; 
described, 179-81. See Plate 8 

" Lives of the Dutch Painters " (Wei- 
jerman), 49 

Lloyd, David, 235 

Lock, A., notary, 26 

London, 49, 53, 58, 81, 99, 101, 105, m, 
112, 120, 124, 134, 135, 137, 140, 141, 
144, 145, 147, 153, 154, 156, 157, 158, 
159, 161, 162, 163, 164, 180, 183, 187, 
189, 208, 220, 225, 226, 230, 231, 232, 

233. 234. *35* 236 

Londonderry, no 

Loo, Jacob van, 100, 103 

Loon, Jan van, 189 

Looten, Govert, sale, 1 27 

Lot, Carel (Lotto, Carlotto), 49 

Lot and His Daughters (Hertz Collec- 
lection), 213 

Louvre, 137, 179, 184 

Love Letter, A, Beit Collection, 34, 145; 
described, 158-9. See Plate 33 

Love Letter, The, Rijks Museum, Am- 
sterdam, 29, 73, 105; described, 177— 
79. See Plate 7 

Low Countries, 70 

Lucas, E. V., 49, in, 160, 170, 188, 233 

Luchtmans, Dr., sale, 118, 182, 226 

Lute Player, The. See The Guitar 

Lynnewood Hall, 235 

Lyons, 233 

Maclean, 225 

Maecenas, 18 

Maes, Nicolaes, 171, 184 

Magnin, E. John, 130, 187 

Maid-Servant Pouring out Milk, A, 
Rijks Museum, Amsterdam, 70, 98, 
102, 113; described, 175-7, 180, 200, 
204. See Plate 6 

Maiden, 172 



Man, Cornelis de, 25, 214, 218 

Man playing music with a Lady in an 

Interior, A, 225 
Manchester, England, exhibition, 209 
Manet, 65 
Mantz, 233 
Marceau, Henri, 144; letter by, 145-6; 

149, 198 
Marianoni Collection, 159 
Marquand, Henry G., 107 
Mars and Apollo, 29 
Marseilles, 124 

Martin, Dr. W., 56; letter by, 128-9 
Maruis, G. H., 233 
Mary Magdalene at the Foot of the 

Cross (Fawkes Collection), 209 
Masterbook, of Guild of St. Luke, 

Delft, 15, 24; reproduction of a 

double-page from, 18, 230 
Mather, Frank Jewett, 233 
Mauritshuis, The Hague, 28, 56, 60, 100, 

101, 116, 143, 168, 171, 173, 231 
" Mechelen," house owned by Jan Ver- 

meer, 26 
Meer, Adriaensz van der, ship carpen- 
ter, 16 
Meer, Arij Janse van der, master potter, 

Meer. five Jans van der, contemporary 

with Jan Vermeer at Delft, 14, 26, 30 
" Meer. Jacob van der," 157 
Meer, Jan Cornelisz van der, hat maker, 

Meer, Jan Jansz van der, 31 
Meer, Jan Reyers van der, 31 
Meer, Jan van der, apothecary', of Delft, 

15, 3 1 
Meer, Jan van der, the younger, of 

Haarlem, 51 
Meer, Johannes van der, schoolmaster, 

3 2 
Meer. Johannes van der, to whom Jan 

Vermeer rented a house, 26 
Meer, T. H. van der, optician, 31 
Meerman, Dirk burgomaster of Delft, 

Meers, the Jan van der, of Haarlem, 

Mellon, Andrew W., 133, 136 
Mellon, The A. W. Educational and 

Charitable Trust, 100, 132, 134, 135, 

Mellon Collection. See above 

"Men of Art" (Craven), 68 
Merry Company in a Room, A, 226 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 107 
Metschert, Claes Jansz, 25 
Metsu, Gabriel, 4, 20, 21, 54, 64, 69, 81, 

84, 90, 109, 123, 141, 218 
Michel, E., 230 
Michelangelo, 74, 201 
Miereveld, Michael, 12, 14, 38, 55, 108 
Mieris, Frans van, 8, 22, 47, 49, 153 
Mignard, 119 
Milk Woman, The. See A Maid-Servant 

Pouring Milk 
Millet, 73, 176 
Minne, Reijnier van der, art dealer of 

Delft; possibly a misspelling of Jan 

Vermeer's father's name, 32, 33 
Mirrors, possibly used in Vermeer's 

studio, 60 
Moes, E. W., 32 
Molepoort, Delft, 15, 30 
Mona Lisa, Da Vinci, 182 
Monconys, Balthasar de, author who 

visited Delft, 47, 233 
Montegut, 233 
Moore, Albert, 72 
Morgan Collection, 101, 226 
Muilman, H, sale, 176, 183, 185 
Muller, Frederich and Company, 212 
Munich, 141, 224, 230, 232 
Murillo, 87 

Murray, C. Fairfax, 219 
Music Collection (Steen), 216 
Music Lesson, The, Windsor Castle, 73, 

81; 138; described, 152-4. See Plate 2 
Mytens, 108 

Nagasaki, 20, 35 n. 

Naples, 164, 165, 166, 167 

Nassau, House of, 23 

National Association for the Promotion 
of Social Science, Dublin, 108 

National Gallery, London, 53, 58, 101, 
137, 155, 156, 157, 219 

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 108 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edin- 
burgh, 163, 164, 207, 208 

National Picture Gallery, Buda-Pesth, 

Neer, Arnold van der, 22 

Neer, Eglon van der, 6, 1 16 

Netherlands, 19, 20; United Oil Com- 
panies of, 29 



Netscher, Caspar, 100, 103, 118 

Neufville, de, sale, 176 

Neven, M., 222, 227 

Newcastle, Duke of, 189 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 177 

New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), Delft, 11, 
r 3' 2 3» 33> 36' 58, 168, 181, 215 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 38 

New York, 99, 100, 101, 107, 112, 113, 
115, 116, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 
124, 125, 126, 127, 130, 131, 143, 150, 
159, 187, 198, 216, 230, 233, 234, 235, 

Nieuhoff, sale, 141, 222 

Nieustraat (New Street), Delft, 181 

Nieuwenhuys, 198 

Night Watch, Rembrandt, 57 

Nijman, Jan Danser, sale, 126, 127, 155, 

Nijni Novgorod, 20 

Nineteenth Century, 219 

" N. N.," 208 

"— noboni, Sc," partly illegible name of 

engraver, 161 
North Sea, n 
Norton, Peter, 183 
Notan, term used by Japanese designers, 

78, 83, 84 
Nun Conversing with a Woman in the 

Street, A (Vrel), 218 
Nun Reading, A, 222 

Obreen, F. D. O., archivist, 35, 233 
Officer and Laughing Girl. See The 

Soldier and the Laughing Girl 
Officer at an Open Window, An, 

Old Church (Oude Kerk), Delft, 11, 12, 

i3> 2 3> 28 ' 35. 181 
Old Lady with a Reel, An, 53 
" Old Maps and Their Makers " (Hol- 

man), 123 
Old Masters Exhibition, Burlington 

House, 144, 147 
Old Woman Reading the Bible (Vrel), 

Oost Poort (East Gate), Delft, 10 
Ophoven, J. van, notary, 25 
Orange, Prince of, 1 1 
Orient, 83, 84 
Ostade, 22, 49 
Otlet, E., 183 
Odey, 209 

Oude Delft (main thoroughfare of 

Delft), 15, 181 
Oude Gracht in Haarlem near Klein 

Heiligland, The, 227 
Oude Langendijk (Old Long Dyke), 

Delft, 11, 13, 14, 28, 29 
Oudemanshuissteeg (Old Men's Home 

Street), Delft, 23, 26, 33 
Oud-Holland, 28, 31, 32, 57, 105, 235 
Out-Beyerlant, 31, 38, 43 
Outgers, notary, 27 

Pacheco, 60 

Paillet et Delaroche, 137 

Paillet, sale, 124 

Painter's Art, The, believed identical 
with A Painter's Studio, Czernin Col- 
lection, 38 

Painter's Studio, A, Czernin Collection, 
73, 81, 98, 105, 178; described, 200. 
See Plate 50 

Palamedes (Pallemedes), Anthonij, 25, 

57, l 7 2 
Palmerston, Lord, 147 
Pals, G. van der, 228 
Pantheon, 104, 138, 167, 179 
Parable of the Unmerciful Servant 

(Edinburgh), 207 
Paris, 53, 77, 107, 109, 112, 122, 124, 126, 

127, 133, 137, 141, 155, 157, 158, 159, 

171, 175, 183, 185, 186, 187, 188, 196, 

198, 216, 217, 218, 219, 225, 227, 230, 

231, 232, 233, 235 
Part of a Town, with a View into an 

Entry, 228 
Paulovtsoff, A., 124 
Pearl Necklace, The, Kaiser Friedrich 

Museum, 52, 73, 76, 81, 84, 85, 114, 

142, 175; described, 187-9; 196. See 

Plate 9 
Pekstok, J., 218 
Peltzer, Alfred, 234 
Peper-street, Gouda, 42 
Pepys, 170 
Perdoux, Yves, 132 
Pereire, Isaac, 127, 128, 198 
Perier Sale Catalogue, 141 
Pers, Dirck Pietersz, 117 
Peter the Great, 38 
Pevsner, Nikolaus, 209 
Phenix, 47 
Philadelphia, 10, 99, 140, 143, 144, 145, 

2 34> 2 35. 2 36 



Philippi, K., 234 
Philipps, 224 

Philosopher (Rembrandt), 68 
Physician, The (Stchavinsky Collec- 
tion), 214 
Picture of a Street, A (Vrel), 221, 228 
Picture of a Town, 218 
Pillet, dealer, 107 
Pinakothek, Munich, 143 
Piscator, Nicolaus, 200 
Plietzsch, Eduard, 115, 136, 177, 183, 189, 

2 34 
Poel, van der, 29 
Poelenburgh, Cornelis van, of Utrecht, 


Pommersfelden, Bavaria, 157 

Porjes, M., 218 

Portrait in an Antique Costume, A, 

Portrait of Vermeer, The (1696 sale), 

Portrait of a Girl, Arenberg Collection, 

51, 105, 134, 135; described, 182; 226. 

See Plate 41 
Portrait of a Girl (Boughton Knight 

Collection), 209 
Portrait of a Lady, Mr. and Mrs. Ed- 
wards's Collection, described, 139-40. 

See Plate 26 
Portrait of a Woman, Buda-Pesth, 

62, 161; described, 204-5. See Plate 


Portrait of a Young Girl (van Beunin- 
gen Collection), 212 

Portrait of a Young Lady, 227 

Portrait of a Young Man, n-j 

Portrait of a Young Man, Brussels, de- 
scribed, 183. See Plate 42 

Portrait of a Young Woman (Jean 
Schmitt Collection), 214 

Portrait of the Artist, 221 

Portrait of the Artist (de Man), 218 

Portrait of Vermeer, so-called, 227 

Potter, Paul, 22, 201 

Poullain, sale, 124 

Poussin, 102, 165 

Powerscourt Castle, 108 

Powerscourt, eighth Viscount, 1 10 

Powerscourt, seventh Viscount, 107 

Pratolino, 198 

Pre, D. du, 148 

Preyer, David C, 49, 234 

Prinsenhof, Delft, 11 

Procession at the Gateway of Leyden 

University (Burch), 221 
Procuress, The (Baburen), 139, 156, 165 
Procuress, The. See The Courtesan 
Public Place at The Hague, A, 229 

Rademaker, Dr., 131 

Raphael, 196 

Reader, The, Rijks Museum, Amster- 
dam, 81, 84, 142; described, 174-5; 
196. See Plate 5 

Regteren, Altena, J. Q. van, 215 

Reiffenberg, Benno, 215, 232 

Reinhardt Galleries, 131 

Rembrandt, 3, 4, 49, 54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 65, 
66, 68, 74, 76, 83, 102, 108, 159, 168, 183, 
196, 208, 215 

Rembrandt Society, 178 

Rembrandtstraat, Delft, 11 

Renesse, Comte de, 127, 128 

Renesse, Constantin Adrian, 216 

Renesse, J., 216 

Renown, figure of, 200, 204 

Reportorium, The Hague, 46 

Representation of the New Testament, 


Reulens, E., sale, 212 

Reydon, H., sale, 118, 226, 229 

Reyers, W., 159 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 49, 51, 176 

Reyre, Anthony F., 162, 163 

Rhineland, 217 

Ribera, 67, 78 

Rice, William Gorham, 11 

Richtenberger, 233 

Rigaud, 119 

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam, 8, 19, 31,99, 

174, 175, 177, 178, 179, 180, 218, 231 
Rinder, 53 
Ripa, Cesare, 117 

Robiano, Comte F. de, sale, 118, 226 
Robinson, Fisher and Harding, 208 
Roemer, Pieter, master glassmaker, 27 
Roh, Franz, 234 
Rohde, Walter Kurt, 134 
Rome, 48 

Romondt, P. van, 221 
Roos, C. S., sale, 120, 223 
Rosendael, Aleidis Magdalena van, 43 
Rosendael, Cornelia Clementia van, 43 
Rothermere, Viscount, 207, 208 
Rothschild, Baron Alphonse de, 187 
Rothschild, Baron E. de, 187 



Rothschild Collection, 126, 186 

Rothschild, dealer, 212 

Rotterdam, 10, 13, 19, 57, 58, 118, 124, 

I2 7» '39. !5 8 . l6 h 1<58 i 2 °9' 2I2 > "3> 

231. 2 33 
Royal Academy of Great Britain, 52, 

140, 148, 150, 157 
Royal Library, The Hague, 15, 24 
Royal Museum of Art, Brussels, 183 
Royal Print Collection, Berlin, 213 
Royal Society, London, 180 
Rubens, 3, 21, 78, 156, 165 
Ruck, Arthur, 160 
Ruisch, Rachel, 22 
Ruysdael, Jacob van, 108, 168, 177 
Ruyven, Pieter Claesz van, 25 

Sabin, Frank T., 208 

Sackville Gallery, 220, 221 

Sacrifice of Abraham, 117 

Saint-Germain, Gault de, 232 

Salting Collection, 155 

Salting, George, 157 

Salzthal (Salzdahlum), 192 

San Donato, 198 

Sanen, Arent van, 24 

Sansetzu, 85 n. 

Santen, Captain Johan van, 25 

Savory, Ernest W., 160 

Scene in a Courtyard, 228 

Scene in a Tavern. See The Courtesan 

Scharf, Dr. Alfred, 210 

Scheltema, 232 

Schepenen, the Honourable Mr., 43 

Schepens, J., 185 

Schepper, Hendrik de, 26 

Schiedam Poort, Delft, 10, 168 

Schiller, 194 

Schistoscope, of Bruecke, 86 

Schley, Ph. van der, 148 

Schneider, Dr. H, 209 

Schonborn, Count von, 157 

Schoonhove, Cornelia, 16 

Schoonhoven, 45, 46 

Schoss, Adolphe, 217 

Schrieck, Otto Marcellis van, 20 

Secretan, E., sale, 124, 158 

Sedelmeyer, Ch., dealer, 112, 124, 157, 

158, 198 
Seemann, 235 
Segur, Comtesse de, 141 
Segur-Perier Collection, 141 
Serrot, Jasper, 25 

Seurat, 65 

Seventeen Provinces, map of the, 200 
'S Gravenhage, 232 
Simon Collection, 99 
Simon, James, 124 
Singel Gracht, canal at Delft, 10 
Singing Lesson, The. See Girl Inter- 
rupted at Her Music 
Sistine Madonna (Raphael), 196 
Six Collection, 100, 176, 179, 180 
Six van Vromade, 176 
Skelmorlie Castle, 164 
Skippon, Sir Philip, 13, 15, 31 
Sleeping Maid-Servant (Boursse), 217 
Slingelandt, Hendrik van, sale, 124, 158 
Slingelandt, Pieter Cornelisz van, 22, 47 
Smagge, Francois, money lender, 44 
Smiling Girl, The, Mellon Collection, 

101; described, 134-5; 173, 206, 227. 

See Plate 23 
Smiling Girl, The. See also Head of a 

Young Girl 
Smith, John, author, 7, 49, 183, 234 
Smith, S. C. Kaines, 209, 234 
Soldier and the Laughing Girl, The, 

Frick Collection, described, 12 1-3; 

158. See Plate 16 
Soldier at a Tavern (de Hooch), 216 
Solly, Edward, 155 
Sommariva, Comte de, 175 
Sorgh, Hendrik, sale, 127 
Spaan, 188 

Speed, John, cartographer, 123 
" Sphinx of Delft," fanciful designation 

of Jan Vermeer, 5, 51, 52, 93, 103, 

Spors, Matthias, 58 
Stadel Art Institute, Frankfort, 126, 170, 

197, 198, 215 
State Picture Gallery, Dresden, 193, 195 
St. Christopher, Chapel of. Delft, 18 
Stchavinsky Collection, Petrograd, 214 
Steen, Jan, 21, 38, 49, 84, 90, 103, 109, 

120, 123, 216 
Stevens, Alfred, 188 
Stevens, Jannetge, 42 
Still Life (de Nemes Collection), 211 
Still Life (J. O. Kronig's), 210 
Stinstra, S. J., 168 
St. Luke, Guild of (Lucas Gild), Delft, 

6; Syndics of, 6, 16, 18, 24; facade of 

new building, 17; arms of, 17, 23, 32, 

39, 58, 59, 83, 97, 108, 165, 167, 201 n. 



Stokvisch, C. Hennig and others, sale, 

St. Petersburg, 124 
Straffintvelt, Nicolaes, notary, 43 
Study Head of a Boy, Berlin, 213 
Stuers, de, 234 

Suermondt Collection, 51, 188, 214 
Sulley and Company, dealers, 124, 145 
Sung Painting, 89 

Swanevelt, Herman, of Woerden, 22 
Sweerts, Michael, 55, 209, 219-20 
Swoll, Herman van, sale, 115 

Taeling, Harmanus, 41 

Tanyu, 85 n. 

Tatlock, R. R., 149, 150 

Tengs, D., sale, 188, 228 

Teniers, 49 

Ten Kate, H., 174 

Terborch, Gerard, 4, 49, 81, 82, 84, 87, 
90, 100, 103, 123, 124, 212, 217, 225 

Theatre of Anatomy, Delft, 1 1 

The Hague, 7, 13, 16, 24, 28, 33, 38, 43, 
45, 46, 57, 60, 70, 97, 100, 101, 105, 109, 
116, 124, 128, 133, 143, 157, 170, 171, 
!73. «74> '78, 185, 210, 213, 214, 222, 
228, 229, 231, 233, 234 

Thieme-Becker, 234 

Tbieme's Dictionary of Painters, 160 

Thooft, Joost & Labouchere, potters, 18 

Thore, Theophile, connoisseur and 
author who " rediscovered " Jan Ver- 
meer of Delft, 5, 7, 12, 51, 52, 53, 93, 
108, 122, 128, 137, 145, 148, 149, 155, 
157, 170, 188, 201, 217, 218, 223, 224, 


Three Kings, The, 29 

Tins, Maria, widow of Reynier Bolnes 
and mother-in-law of Jan Vermeer of 
Delft, 24, 26; signed herself " Marya 
Thins," 27; 28; called " Pins," 38; set- 
dement of controversy over her son's 
estate, 41; her wills, 43; refutes ac- 
cusation of fraudulent sequestration 
of assets of Jan Vermeer's estate; 
death in 1705, 44 

Tintoretto, 102 

Titian, 102 

Toilette of Diana, The, Mauritshuis, 49, 
72, 75, 113; described, 171-2; 208 

Tokio, 20 

Tombe, A. A. des, 173 

Tooth, Arthur, dealer, 137 

Tournier, Robert, 210 
Town Hall, Delft, 13, 14, 31, 181 
Trautscholdt, Edward, 148, 149 
Tretze-Conrat, E., 234 
Triepel, C, 224 
Trooper and a Girl, A, 226 
Troost, Cornells, 22 
Tivo Ladies and Two Gentlemen in an 
Interior (de Hooch), 216 

Uccle, 169 

Ukiyoye prints, 82, 83 

United Oil Companies of the Nether- 
lands: journal of, 30 

Utrecht, 21, 22, 46 n., 48, 49, 194, 166, 
171, 213 

Valenttner, Dr. W. R., 15, 50, 57, 58, 
104, 106, 130, 138, 140, 145, 151, 163, 
167, 179, 184, 186, 206, 208, 209, 212, 
213, 217, 220, 234 

" Vander Meer of Delf (sic)," 50 

Vandermeere, D. (sic), 49 

Vander Mere, Jean, 14 

Van Dyke, John C, 234 

Van Gogh, Vincent, 86, 175 

Vanzype, Gustave, 169, 170, 172, 234 

Veen, J. van, notary, 30 

Veen, Otto van, of Leyden, 21 

Velazquez, 3, 60, 67, 78 

Velde, Adriaen van, 22, 160, 161 

Venus and Adonis (Titian), 102 

Verchuren, Lievens, 48 

Verkolje, 199 

Vermeer, Aleydis, granddaughter of the 
artist, 46 

" Vermeer and Carel Fabritius " (de 
Groot), 212 

" Vermeer and the Masters of Dutch 
Painting" (Valentiner), 138 

Vermeer, Catharina, granddaughter of 
the artist, 46 

"Vermeer" (Fell), 186, 208 

Vermeer, Geertruijt, sister of Jan Ver- 
meer, 26 

Vermeer, Ignatius, son of the artist, 46 

Vermeer (van der Meer), Jan, or Jo- 
hannes, of Delft, " the supreme 
painter," 3; as compared with other 
great artists, 4; his quality of artistic 
Tightness, 5; his good standing at 
Delft, 6; beginning of the correction 
of errors concerning Vermeer, 7; re- 

2 5 2 


cent valuations of his works, 8; pos- 
sibly a pottery decorator, 15; baptis- 
mal record, 23; marriage to Catharina 
Bolenes, 24; chosen Syndic of the 
Guild of St. Luke, 24; his signatures, 
25-26; his last borrowing and the rec- 
ord of his burial, 28; inventory of his 
effects, 28-9; his preference for the 
spelling " Vermeer," 30; closely con- 
temporaneous with van Leeuwen- 
hoek, 35; Arnold Bon's poetic tribute 
to Vermeer, 47; Houbraken's neglect 
to mention Vermeer, 48; Thore's 
"rediscovery" of Vermeer, 51-53; 
Thomas Craven's depreciation of 
Vermeer, 68; reproduction of signa- 
tures on paintings attributed to Ver- 
meer, 105; Vermeer's strength and 
weakness in painting portraits, 120; 
Vermeer at his technical best, 133; 
Vermeer's possible indebtedness to 
Cavallino, 164-7; Vermeer's supreme 
artistic achievement, 202-4; many 
" new Vermeers " for cautious con- 
sideration, 206-7 

Vermeer, Jan, third, grandson of the 
artist, living at Leyden in 1720, 45; a 
petition for relief from fidicomis, 46 

Vermeer, Johanna, granddaughter of 
the artist, 46 

Vermeer, Johannes, junior, 45; disap- 
peared from Delft, 41; took oath re- 
garding property, 46 

Vermeer, Maria, granddaughter of the 
artist, 46 

"Vermeer of Delft," (Lucas), in 

Vermeer, Reynier Janssoon, father of 
Jan Vermeer, of Delft, 23, 24; men- 
tion of his portrait, 28; his occupa- 
tions, 31-33; 201 n. 

" Vermeer van Delft " (Reiffenberg 
and Hausenstein), 215 

Vermeer (van der Meer), Jan, of 
Utrecht, 48, 166, 171, 194 

" Vermeeriana," in Oud-Holland, 30 

Vermeers, " lost," 7 

Vermeers of Haarlem, the, 211, 213, 218 

Vermeerstraat, Delft, 11 

Veronica, 28, 29 

Vertangen, Daniel, 22 

Verwersdijk, street at Delft, 34 

Vestibule of the St. Agatha Cloister, 
Delft, 218 

Veth, Jan, 234 

Viardot, 234 

Victors, Jan, 180 

Vienna, 52, 141, 142, 158, 198, 200, 205, 

214, 215, 227 
Vienna Academy, 216, 

View of a House in Delft, A, 100 
View of Delft, Mauritshuis, 7, n, 13, 
51; described, 168-70; 172, 180, 213, 

215. See Plate 3 

View of Delft with a Bleaching Ground 
in Front (Goudstikker Collection), 

View of Some Houses, A, 100, 227 

View of a Street in Delft, 228 

Vinci, Leonardo da, 66, 182 

Vinne, Vincent Laurens van der, 220 

Violent Storm at Sea, A, 229 

Vlamingstraet (Street of the Flemings), 
Delft, 33 

Vliet, Christaen van, attorney, 41 

Vlist, 45, 46 

Vockestaert, Hendrik, 42 

Vogelsang, Professor Willem, 213 

Voldersgracht, Delft, 14, 18, 23, 31 

Vollenhoven, Messchert van, 178 

Vollmer, Dr. Hans, 160 

Volmarijn, dealer, 56 

" Vormer, Helgand Jans van," 214 

Vos, J., notary, 38 

Vos (Vosch), cognomen of Jan Ver- 
meer's father, styled "velvet work- 
er," 31, 33 

Vrel, Jacobus, 217, 218, 228 

Vromade, Six van, 76 

Waagen, G. F., 210, 224, 234 

Wachtler, dealer, 116 

Waldmann, Emil, 132 

Wallace Collection, London, 184, 208, 

Wallenstein, 194 
Ward, T. Humphry, 157, 183 
Washington, 100, 102, 132, 134, 135 
Waterlo, Anthonie, 22 
Wauters, A. J., 183, 184, 235 
Wedmore, F., 235 
Weijerman, Jakob Campo, 49 
Weissenstein, Schloss, 157 
Werf, Floris van der, attorney, 42 
Werf, Steven van der, master mason, 42 
Werff, Adriaan van der, 22 
Werthheimer, A., 190 



Werven, Steven van der, 42 

West Friesland, 27, 122 

Weyhe, E., 234 

Whistler, James McNeill, 72, 79, 85, 87, 

Wichmann, Heinrich, 235 
Widener Collection, 112, 140, 143, 

Widener, Joseph, 234 
Wiell, Anthony van der, brother-in-law 

of Jan Vermeer, 26 
Wijnman, H. F., 57 
Wildenstein, dealer, 131 
Wilenski, R. H., 60, 85 n., 139, 165, 170, 

174- 235 
William of Nassau, 15 
William of Orange, 23 
William the Silent, 12, 14, 108 
Willingen, A. van, 231 
Willis's, auction rooms, 208 
Wilnes, near Gouda, 43 
Wilson, John Waterloo, 112 
Windsor Castle, 99, 159 
"Windsor Castle Vermeer," 152 
Winter, van, Collection, 179 
Witt, M. R, 219 
Witte (Wit), Emanuel de, 11, 100, 103, 

108, 218 
Woerden, 21 
Woermann, Karl, 235 
Woltmann, Alfred, 235 
Woodburn Collection, 120 
Wouwerman, Philip, 22 
Woman and Child, 224 
Woman at Work with a Child, A, 223 
Woman Combing Her Hair, A, 225 
Woman Making Lace, A, 11} 
Woman Feeling Apples (de Hooch), 

Woman Skinning an Eel, A, 224 
Woman Taken in Adultery, The 

(Cavallino), 167 
Woman Washing a Boy's Head, A, 

Woman Weighing Gold, A, in the 1696 

sale, 98 
Woman Weighing Gold, A, Widener 

Collection, described, 140-2, 222. See 

Plate 27 
Woman Weighing Pearls, A. See A 

Woman Weighing Gold 
Woman with Needlework in her Lap, 

A, 223 
Wouwerman, Philip, 22 
Woyna, von, 226 
Wright, Harold R., 135 
Wubbels, 127 

Wynants, Jan, of Haarlem, 22, 177 
Wyzewa, T. de, 235 

Young Gentleman Writing a Letter, A 
(Metsu), 218 

Young Girl, A, Reyre Collection, de- 
scribed, 162. See Plate 37 

Young Girl Conversing with a Lady, A, 

Young Girl with a Flute, A, Widener 
Collection, 132; described, 143. See 
Plate 28 

Young Lady at a Spinet, Beit Collec- 
tion, 53, 151; described, 159. See 
Plate 34 

Young Lady at the Virginals, A, Na- 
tional Gallery, 64, 73, 81, 105, ill, 114, 
120; described, 154-6; 165. See Plate 

Young Lady Seated at the Spinet, A, 

National Gallery, 105, 139; described, 

156-7. See Plate 32 
Young Woman in a Yellow Jacket, A. 

See The Courtesan 
Young Woman Opening a Casement, 

A, Metropolitan Museum, 64, 73, 81, 

84; described, 107-10; 114, 120, 135, 

190. See Plate i 
Young Woman Peeling an Apple for 

her Child, A (Terborch), 217 
Young Woman Reading, A, Bache Col- 
lection, described, 130. See Plate 20 
Young Woman Sewing, A (Burch), 218 
Young Woman with a Water Jug, A. 

See A Young Woman Opening a 


Zuider Zee, 12 

(Contiitued from front flap) 

Philip L: Hale made the first im- 
portant American contribution to 
the subject when he published his 
Jan Vermeer of Delft in 191 3. 
The present volume is based upon 
this original work. So much has 
been discovered in recent years, 
however, concerning both the 
man and his art that the new book 
bears but a vague resemblance to 
its predecessor. The critical ap- 
proach, that of one artist evaluat- 
ing the work of another artist from 
an artist's point of view, has been 
kept. The coeditors, taking up the 
task of revision and enlargement 
on which the author was engaged at 
the time of his death in 193 1, have 
spent the last few years in intensive 
research both here and in Holland; 
and have succeeded in uncovering 
interesting and important facts not 
heretofore published which help 
to give a wider scope to the under- 
standing of Vermeer the man and, 
consequently, of Vermeer the 
master painter. 

Vermeer stands alone as the 
only available book which tells all 
that is known, both about the man 
and about his work. 

Publishers Boston